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IAASTDInternational Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Scienceand Technology for DevelopmentLatin Americaand the Caribbean(LAC) Report


IAASTDInternational Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Scienceand Technology for DevelopmentLatin Americaand the Caribbean(LAC) Report


Copyright © 2009 IAASTD. All rights reserved. Permission toreproduce and disseminate portions of the work for no cost will begranted free of charge by Island Press upon request: Island Press, 1718Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009.Island Press is a trademark of The Center for Resource Economics.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data.International assessment of agricultural knowledge, science andtechnology for development (IAASTD) : Latin America and theCaribbean (LAC) report / edited by Beverly D. McIntyre . . . [et al.].p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-1-59726-546-1 (cloth : alk. paper) —ISBN 978-1-59726-547-8 (pbk. : alk. paper)1. Agriculture—Latin America—International cooperation.2. Agriculture—Caribbean Area—International cooperation.3. Sustainable development—Latin America. 4. Sustainabledevelopment—Caribbean Area. I. McIntyre, Beverly D. II. Title: LatinAmerica and the Caribbean (LAC) report.HD1428.I545 2008338.98´07—dc22 2008046047British Cataloguing-in-Publication data available.Printed on recycled, acid-free paperInterior and cover designs by Linda McKnight, McKnight Design, LLC.Manufactured in the United States of America10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


ContentsviiviiiixStatement by GovernmentsForewordPreface175112165187Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current SituationAKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and ImpactAgricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: PlausibleScenarios for Sustainable DevelopmentAKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the FuturePublic Policies in Support of AKST213214215223225228229Annex AAnnex BAnnex CAnnex DAnnex EAnnex FIndexLAC Authors and Review EditorsPeer ReviewersGlossaryAcronyms, Abbreviations and UnitsSteering Committee for Consultative Process and Advisory Bureau for AssessmentSecretariat and Cosponsor Focal Points


PrefaceIn August 2002, the World Bank and the Food and AgricultureOrganization (FAO) of the United Nations initiateda global consultative process to determine whether an internationalassessment of agricultural knowledge, scienceand technology (AKST) was needed. This was stimulatedby discussions at the World Bank with the private sectorand nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the state ofscientific understanding of biotechnology and more specificallytransgenics. During 2003, eleven consultations wereheld, overseen by an international multistakeholder steeringcommittee and involving over 800 participants from allrelevant stakeholder groups, e.g., governments, the privatesector and civil society. Based on these consultations thesteering committee recommended to an IntergovernmentalPlenary meeting in Nairobi in September 2004 that aninternational assessment of the role of AKST in reducinghunger and poverty, improving rural livelihoods and facilitatingenvironmentally, socially and economically sustainabledevelopment was needed. The concept of an InternationalAssessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science andTechnology for Development (IAASTD) was endorsed as amulti-thematic, multi-spatial, multi-temporal intergovernmentalprocess with a multistakeholder Bureau cosponsoredby the FAO, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UnitedNations Development Programme (UNDP), United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), theWorld Bank and World Health Organization (WHO).The IAASTD’s governance structure is a unique hybridof the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)and the nongovernmental Millennium Ecosystem Assessment(MA). The stakeholder composition of the Bureau wasagreed at the Intergovernmental Plenary meeting in Nairobi;it is geographically balanced and multistakeholder with 30government and 30 civil society representatives (NGOs,producer and consumer groups, private sector entities andinternational organizations) in order to ensure ownership ofthe process and findings by a range of stakeholders.About 400 of the world’s experts were selected by theBureau, following nominations by stakeholder groups, toprepare the IAASTD Report (comprised of a Global andfive Sub-Global assessments). These experts worked in theirown capacity and did not represent any particular stakeholdergroup. Additional individuals, organizations andgovernments were involved in the peer review process.The IAASTD development and sustainability goals wereendorsed at the first Intergovernmental Plenary and are consistentwith a subset of the UN Millennium DevelopmentGoals (MDGs): the reduction of hunger and poverty, theimprovement of rural livelihoods and human health, and facilitatingequitable, socially, environmentally and economicallysustainable development. Realizing these goals requiresacknowledging the multifunctionality of agriculture: thechallenge is to simultaneously meet development and sustainabilitygoals while increasing agricultural production.Meeting these goals has to be placed in the context of arapidly changing world of urbanization, growing inequities,human migration, globalization, changing dietary preferences,climate change, environmental degradation, a trendtoward biofuels and an increasing population. These conditionsare affecting local and global food security and puttingpressure on productive capacity and ecosystems. Hencethere are unprecedented challenges ahead in providing foodwithin a global trading system where there are other competinguses for agricultural and other natural resources.AKST alone cannot solve these problems, which are causedby complex political and social dynamics, but it can makea major contribution to meeting development and sustainabilitygoals. Never before has it been more important forthe world to generate and use AKST.Given the focus on hunger, poverty and livelihoods,the IAASTD pays special attention to the current situation,issues and potential opportunities to redirect the currentAKST system to improve the situation for poor rural people,especially small-scale farmers, rural laborers and otherswith limited resources. It addresses issues critical to formulatingpolicy and provides information for decision makersconfronting conflicting views on contentious issues such asthe environmental consequences of productivity increases,environmental and human health impacts of transgeniccrops, the consequences of bioenergy development on theenvironment and on the long-term availability and price offood, and the implications of climate change on agriculturalproduction. The Bureau agreed that the scope of the assessmentneeded to go beyond the narrow confines of S&T andshould encompass other types of relevant knowledge (e.g.,knowledge held by agricultural producers, consumers andend users) and that it should also assess the role of institutions,organizations, governance, markets and trade.The IAASTD is a multidisciplinary and multistakeholderenterprise requiring the use and integration of information,tools and models from different knowledge paradigms includinglocal and traditional knowledge. The IAASTD doesnot advocate specific policies or practices; it assesses themajor issues facing AKST and points towards a range ofAKST options for action that meet development and susix


x | Prefacetainability goals. It is policy relevant, but not policy prescriptive.It integrates scientific information on a range oftopics that are critically interlinked, but often addressedindependently, i.e., agriculture, poverty, hunger, humanhealth, natural resources, environment, development andinnovation. It will enable decision makers to bring a richerbase of knowledge to bear on policy and management decisionson issues previously viewed in isolation. Knowledgegained from historical analysis (typically the past 50 years)and an analysis of some future development alternatives to2050 form the basis for assessing options for action on scienceand technology, capacity development, institutions andpolicies, and investments.The IAASTD is conducted according to an open, transparent,representative and legitimate process; is evidencebased;presents options rather than recommendations;assesses different local, regional and global perspectives;presents different views, acknowledging that there can bemore than one interpretation of the same evidence based ondifferent world views; and identifies the key scientific uncertaintiesand areas on which research could be focused toadvance development and sustainability goals.The IAASTD is composed of a Global assessment andfive Sub-Global assessments: Central and West Asia andNorth Africa – CWANA; East and South Asia and thePacific – ESAP; Latin America and the Caribbean – LAC;North America and Europe – NAE; and Sub-Saharan Africa– SSA. It (1) assesses the generation, access, disseminationand use of public and private sector AKST in relationto the goals, using local, traditional and formal knowledge;(2) analyzes existing and emerging technologies, practices,policies and institutions and their impact on the goals; (3)provides information for decision makers in different civilsociety, private and public organizations on options for improvingpolicies, practices, institutional and organizationalarrangements to enable AKST to meet the goals; (4) bringstogether a range of stakeholders (consumers, governments,international agencies and research organizations, NGOs,private sector, producers, the scientific community) involvedin the agricultural sector and rural development to sharetheir experiences, views, understanding and vision for thefuture; and (5) identifies options for future public and privateinvestments in AKST. In addition, the IAASTD will enhancelocal and regional capacity to design, implement andutilize similar assessments.In this assessment agriculture is used to include productionof food, feed, fuel, fiber and other products and to includeall sectors from production of inputs (e.g., seeds andfertilizer) to consumption of products. However, as in allassessments, some topics were covered less extensively thanothers (e.g., livestock, forestry, fisheries and the agriculturalsector of small island countries, and agricultural engineering),largely due to the expertise of the selected authors.The IAASTD draft Report was subjected to two roundsof peer review by governments, organizations and individuals.These drafts were placed on an open access web siteand open to comments by anyone. The authors revised thedrafts based on numerous peer review comments, with theassistance of review editors who were responsible for ensuringthe comments were appropriately taken into account.One of the most difficult issues authors had to address wascriticisms that the report was too negative. In a scientificreview based on empirical evidence, this is always a difficultcomment to handle, as criteria are needed in order to saywhether something is negative or positive. Another difficultywas responding to the conflicting views expressed by reviewers.The difference in views was not surprising given therange of stakeholder interests and perspectives. Thus one ofthe key findings of the IAASTD is that there are diverse andconflicting interpretations of past and current events, whichneed to be acknowledged and respected.The Global and Sub-Global Summaries for DecisionMakers and the Executive Summary of the Synthesis Reportwere approved at an Intergovernmental Plenary in April2008. The Synthesis Report integrates the key findings fromthe Global and Sub-Global assessments, and focuses on eightBureau-approved topics: bioenergy; biotechnology; climatechange; human health; natural resource management; traditionalknowledge and community based innovation; tradeand markets; and women in agriculture.The IAASTD builds on and adds value to a number ofrecent assessments and reports that have provided valuableinformation relevant to the agricultural sector, but have notspecifically focused on the future role of AKST, the institutionaldimensions and the multifunctionality of agriculture.These include: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World(yearly); InterAcademy Council Report: Realizing the Promiseand Potential of African Agriculture (2004); UN MillenniumProject Task Force on Hunger (2005); MillenniumEcosystem Assessment (2005); CGIAR Science CouncilStrategy and Priority Setting Exercise (2006); ComprehensiveAssessment of Water Management in Agriculture: GuidingPolicy Investments in Water, Food, Livelihoods andEnvironment (2007); Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange Reports (2001 and 2007); UNEP Fourth GlobalEnvironmental Outlook (2007); World Bank World DevelopmentReport: Agriculture for Development (2008); IFPRIGlobal Hunger Indices (yearly); and World Bank InternalReport of Investments in SSA (2007).Financial support was provided to the IAASTD bythe cosponsoring agencies, the governments of Australia,Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, USand UK, and the European Commission. In addition, manyorganizations have provided in-kind support. The authorsand review editors have given freely of their time, largelywithout compensation.The Global and Sub-Global Summaries for DecisionMakers and the Synthesis Report are written for a range ofstakeholders, i.e., government policy makers, private sector,NGOs, producer and consumer groups, international organizationsand the scientific community. There are no recommendations,only options for action. The options for actionare not prioritized because different options are actionableby different stakeholders, each of whom has a different setof priorities and responsibilities and operates in differentsocioeconomic and political circumstances.


1Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context,Evolution and Current SituationCoordinating Lead Authors:Elsa Nivia (Colombia), Ivette Perfecto (Puerto Rico)Lead Authors:Mario Ahumada (Chile), Karen Luz (USA), Rufino Pérez (DominicanRepublic), Julio Santamaría (Panama)Contributing Authors:Jahi Michael Chappell (USA), Michelle Chauvet (Mexico), LuisFernando Chávez (Venezuela), Clara Cruzalegui (Peru), Dalva Mariada Mota (Brazil), Edson Gandarillas (Bolivia), Rosa Luz González(Mexico), Tirso Gonzales (Peru), Eric Holt Jiménez (USA), Carlos J.Pérez (Nicaragua), Ericka Prentice-Pierre (Trinidad and Tobago)Review Editor:Amanda Gálvez (Mexico)Key Messages1.1 Objectives and Conceptual Framework 41.2 Latin American and Caribbean Agricultural ProductionSystems 71.3 Regionalization 71.4 Global Context: Main Trends 81.5 Regional Context 121.5.1 Evolution of development models 121.5.2 Social context 131.5.2.1 Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean 131.5.2.2 Inequality in land tenure 161.5.2.3 Food security and food sovereignty 171.5.3 Economic context 201.5.4 Political context 221.5.5 Environmental context 221.5.5.1 General aspects of the environmental context 221.5.5.2 Climate change and agriculture in Latin America and theCaribbean 241.5.6 Cultural context 251.6 Recent Evolution and Current Situation of Agriculturein LAC 271.6.1 Importance of agriculture to Latin America and theCaribbean 271.6.2 Characteristics and trends in production in Latin America andthe Caribbean 281.6.2.1 Available resources 281.6.2.2 Regional trends in production 321.6.2.3 Food chains 421.6.2.4 Sociocultural characteristics 441.6.2.5 Knowledge 451.6.2.6 Gender aspects 481.7 Performance of Production Systems 501.7.1 Productivity 501.7.2 Sustainability 541.7.2.1 Traditional/indigenous system 541.7.2.2 Conventional/productivist system 541.7.2.3 Agroecological system 551.7.3 Quality and food safety 551.7.4 Impacts of the production systems 561.7.4.1 Environmental impacts 561.7.4.2 Social impacts 591.7.4.3 Impacts on health and nutrition 601.7.4.4 Economic Impacts 621


2 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportKey Messages1. Latin American agriculture is characterized byits heterogeneity and diversity of cultures and actors.Its heterogeneity is expressed by reference to agroecologicalconditions, resource endowment and means ofproduction and access to information and other services.The diversity of cultures and actors implies differences inthe systems for producing, generating and using knowledge,resource management and stewardship, worldviews,survival strategies and forms of social organization.2. For purposes of this evaluation, three agriculturalsystems are considered: the traditional-indigenoussystem, the conventional system and the agroecologicalsystem. The traditional/indigenous system is based onlocal/ancestral knowledge and is very much tied to the territoryand includes peasant systems. The conventional systemhas a market-based approach, is focused on intensive productionpractices and tends towards monoculture and theuse of external inputs. The agroecological/organic systemis based on the combination of agroecology and traditionalknowledge and favors the use of organic inputs and the integrationof natural processes.3. The environmental and social vulnerability of LatinAmerican agriculture is one of the results of implementingthe development models prevalent in the last50 years. The development models of the last 50 years haveaccorded priority to capital- and technology-intensive productionsystems that consume large quantities of fuels fromnon-renewable sources, are oriented to the external market,with limited social benefits. In the traditional/indigenousproduction systems the effects of those models are expressedmainly in their displacement towards the agricultural frontiercausing deforestation, erosion of resources and lossof biodiversity. The agroecological/organic systems, in thecontext of the predominant models, are geared to marketsegments with high purchasing power, which excludes largesocial sectors from their benefits.4. Agricultural productivity has increased in the last 50years; nonetheless, this has not resulted in a reductionof poverty or hunger. There are 54 million people sufferingmalnutrition in the region, while the amount of foodproduced is three times the amount consumed. Althoughagricultural knowledge, science and technology (AKST) systemshave been aimed at the goal of increasing agriculturalproduction, factors such as the lack of access to and distributionof foods and the low purchasing power of a largesector of the population have stood in the way of this translatinginto less hunger. Hunger and malnutrition in LACare not the result of the inability to produce enough food;therefore, increasing production will not solve the problemof hunger and malnutrition in the region. To the contrary,one of the main problems in the rural sector has been foodimportation from other countries where production is subsidized.This supply of food products drives down the priceof local products and has a direct negative impact on thestandard of living and the ability to make a living of therural population.5. LAC has abundant natural resources but they arenot used efficiently and are highly degraded. LatinAmerica and the Caribbean represent the most extensivereserve of arable land in proportion to the population. Theregion has 576 million ha, which is equivalent to 30% ofthe world’s arable land and 28.5% of the region’s land. Inaddition, the region contains five of the 10 richest countriesin terms of biodiversity, with 40% of the world’s geneticreserves (plant and animal). Nonetheless, natural resourceuse and management has been characterized by the underutilizationof the arable lands, with a high proportion oflatifundia with absentee owners, resulting in the use of only25% of available lands. Moreover, there is a steady loss ofsoil and diversity due to problems of erosion, urbanization,pollution and expansion of agriculture.6. Most of the region’s rural population has lost or experienceda diminution of their access to and controlover the use and conservation of the natural resources(land, water, genetic resources) in the last 50 years.This situation is an effect of the implementation of the agriculturalpolicies of exploitation, privatization and patentingof natural resources stemming from the use of the neoliberalagroexport model that has been adopted by most countriesin Latin America and the Caribbean. There has been a greatconcentration of wealth, natural resources and entrepreneurialresources, among others, with growing marginalization,exclusion, poverty and migration from rural to urbanareas and to other countries. Special mention should bemade of the mounting conflicts in the region brought aboutby the concentration of land tenure and the loss of the rightto land of thousands of peasant and indigenous families.7. While the policies favoring the opening up of tradehave created market opportunities for the countriesof the region, they have increased the vulnerabilityof small- and medium-scale producers in the region,benefiting almost exclusively the large-scale producers.The free trade agreements and structural adjustmentprograms fostered by the international financial institutionsand adopted by the national governments have created anunlevel playing field in which local producers have to competewith imported products subsidized in their countries oforigin. This has resulted in the displacement of many smallscaleproducers, creating a rural exodus in many countries.In some cases, the producers have reacted by forming cooperativesand developing alternative markets, in particularthe fair trade market and the market for organic produce.Many large producers have successfully inserted themselvesin the international market.8. In LAC, approximately 25% of the inhabitants liveon less than US$2 a day. These levels of poverty havepersisted despite economic growth in the region. Per capitaGDP in Latin America and the Caribbean declined 0.7% inthe 1980s and increased 1.5% in the 1990s, without povertylevels changing significantly.9. Malnutrition and hunger have a detrimental impacton the potential for development of the countries ofthe region and increase susceptibility to disease. In


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 3percentage terms, the undernourished population in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean fell from 13 to 10% from 1992to 2003. Nonetheless, the region continues to have a populationof 54 million people who are undernourished, withstark regional differences. For example, in Mesoamericaundernourishment increased from 22 to 25% during thatsame period. This number of undernourished inhabitantsmeans vulnerability to disease, the impossibility of having anormal educational performance and therefore the inabilityto participate efficiently and productively in developmentprocesses.10. In LAC, food dependency has been exacerbatedas a result of neoliberal globalization. The importationof subsidized food products has dismantled local productionsystems, creating dependence on food produced inother countries. The situation is aggravated as the poorest,especially rural, inhabitants whose main source of incomeis agriculture, have to face the progressive difficulty of thedecreasing purchasing power for acquiring food, whetherlocally produced or imported. This has resulted in the lossof food sovereignty, especially in the most vulnerable sectorsof the region.11. The performance of agricultural systems is mixedin terms of production and sustainability, as well asenvironmental impacts. The traditional/indigenous systemis characterized by diversity with variable levels of production(from high to very low). The conventional systemhas high levels of production and competitiveness in externalmarkets, yet under current conditions is not sustainableor efficient in terms of energy use. The agroecological systemhas high productivity and sustainability and a marketniche for certified organic products, yet has been limited bythe lack of governmental-institutional support and thereis a debate as to whether it can satisfy the world demandfor food.12. The development of agriculture over the last 50years in LAC has caused critical environmental impacts.Among the impacts, mention should be made firstof the deforestation of vast areas high in biodiversity, especiallyin the tropical forests of Central America and theAmazon. In addition, the use of agrochemicals and soil erosioncaused by farming have had a major negative impacton terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity. More diversifiedagricultural systems can mitigate these impacts up toa point, providing habitats and also connectivity betweenfragments of natural habitats.13. In LAC, emigration is on the increase as is the vulnerabilityof the rural population. This is due to the substitutionof a large part of the agricultural labor force bymachinery and technologies, provoking a reduction in thenumber of farms due to the concentration of landholdings;the loss of land tenure by peasants and indigenous communities;rural violence; and population increase.14. In LAC, cultural diversity, local/traditional knowledgeand agrobiodiversity are being lost. Specifically,local or traditional customs and knowledge are hardly takeninto account in the vertical model of technological developmentprevailing in the region. The predominant technologies,which are displacing local or traditional knowledgeand wisdom, are generally selected with scant participationof the peasant and indigenous communities. This process ofcultural and technological erosion has been casting aside anancestral rural cultural heritage, with local content, adaptedto its surroundings, yielding to external, more uniformknowledge and cultures.15. The health of rural communities in LAC has beendetrimentally affected by problems of acute and chronicintoxications in the countryside due to the indiscriminateuse of agrochemicals. For example, in CentralAmerica, the Plagsalud program of PAHO/WHO estimated400,000 acute intoxications per year; underregistration isestimated at 98%. The problems of intoxication are worsein rural areas because no occupational health programs havebeen put in place for farmers, nor are there health servicesspecifically geared to treating intoxications due to exposureto pesticides, causing several chronic diseases that reducethe capacity to generate income. Children, the elderly, theinfirm and the malnourished are the most vulnerable, compromisingthe right to life and human dignity.16. The population of women who are poor, wage earnersand heads of household is growing as a proportionof the total population living in poverty in rural areas.Although there are particularities in different subregions ofLatin America and the Caribbean, in general, as the participationof men in agriculture diminishes, the role of womenincreases. Male migration is one of the main reasons for theincrease of the female population in the rural economy. Theexpansion of non-traditional export crops, wars, violenceand forced displacement are other causes of the so-called“feminization of agriculture.”17. Transgenic crops have been progressively adoptedin LAC, with impacts perceived by some as negativeand by others as positive, in relation to the goals ofsustainability, poverty reduction and equity. Transgeniccrops are used in commercial production, especially of cotton,soybean, maize and canola. The social and environmentalrepercussions are differentiated for each of thesecrops and by countries of the region. The technology hasbeen adopted quickly by the producers of the conventional/productivist system, increasing profitability, but in someregions it has also accentuated the above-mentioned socialand environmental deterioration. Biosafety policies are recommendedthat impede the consumption and cultivationof transgenic organisms in countries that are the centersof origin of those crops, so as to avoid contamination andpreserve genetic diversity. In regions that are not centers oforigin, regulatory arrangements should be guided by theprecautionary principle. The possibility of genetic contaminationin some species has been demonstrated and it shouldbe an essential part of biosafety policies, which should alsotake into account transgenic edible crops used for the productionof non-edible nutraceuticals, biopharmaceuticals,or industrial products.


4 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Report18. Policies for alternative energy supply based onrenewable resources motivated by the worldwide energycrisis present opportunities and threats to theagricultural sector, thus their externalities should becarefully analyzed. Agricultural production for use in alternativesto fossil fuels has increased quickly in recent yearsin LAC, benefiting some economic sectors and providing alternativemarkets to the agroindustrial sector. Although thedevelopment of these crops offers an opportunity for ruralrevitalization, there are risks of negative environmental andsocial impacts. The expansion of crops for biofuels, suchas sugar cane, oil palm, soybean and timber, is diminishingfood production with a negative impact on food securityin some regions and with a detrimental impact mainly onsmall-scale producers, indigenous populations and othertraditional communities. The use of by-products or animaland plant waste is another source of biofuels whose use attenuatesenvironmental problems.19. The structures of agricultural regulation in LACare not institutionally adequate, resulting in regionalweaknesses such as low competitiveness and the vulnerabilityof the endemic natural patrimonies. Thereare some international agreements on biosafety, animal andplant quarantine, food safety, intellectual property and accessto and management of genetic resources that have beenimportant in other regions of the world as part of a sustainableagriculture development agenda. The understandingof these agreements by countries has not always meantthat they adhere to them, but it has encouraged them todevelop particular and appropriate regulatory strategies, forexample, on the protection, access to and use and managementof autochthonous natural patrimonies, independent ofwhether they adopt international regulatory frameworks.1.1 Objectives and Conceptual FrameworkLatin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has a populationof 569 million people, 209 million of whom are poor and81 million of whom suffer extreme poverty, most of whomlive in rural areas (UNDP, 2005b; CEPAL, 2006b; FAO,2006b). The region has great biodiversity and an abundanceof natural resources, which contributes to the production of36% of the cultivated foods and industrial species worldwide.Nonetheless, these resources are rapidly degrading(UNEP, 2006). The situation is all the more complicatedsince the region is one of those most affected by economicinequality in the world (CEPAL, 2004a; Ferranti et al.,2004). The region is facing the important task of improvingrural livelihoods and ensuring nutritional security whilereducing environmental degradation, addressing social andgender inequality and guaranteeing health and human welfare.Evaluating how AKST can contribute to these goalsis a multisectoral task that requires paying attention to awide variety of economic, environmental, ethical, social andcultural factors.The authors of The Millennium Development Goals: ALatin American and Caribbean Perspective (UNDP, 2005a)conclude that the region produces sufficient food to meet thenutritional needs of all its inhabitants. Though this is notuniform across the region, all the countries, including thosewith a high rate of malnutrition, have a food energy supplyof more than 2,000 kilocalories per person per day, whichexceeds the minimum recommended for an adult (1,815kilocalories) (Figure 1-1). In all, the region produces threetimes the quantity of food it consumes (UNDP, 2005a).These data suggest that hunger and malnutrition in the regiontoday are not due exclusively to the failure to producesufficient food and that the problem is more complex, hencethe solution must go beyond technical aspects related toproduction. The divergence of opinions with respect to thecauses and possible solutions underscores the need to undertakea critical international evaluation that makes it possibleto analyze, using a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach,aspects crucial for policy making.It was with this purpose in mind that the InternationalAssessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technologyfor Development (IAASTD) was undertaken. Thisevaluation is an initiative sponsored by different UnitedNations agencies, the World Bank and multilateral funds, 1which seeks to analyze the complexities of the systems ofknowledge, science and technology (KST) in Latin Americaand the Caribbean to understand how these systems cancontribute to improving the living conditions of the poor inthe region. The objectives of this chapter are: (1) to developthe conceptual framework for the evaluation, (2) to presentthe context (social, political, economic, environmental,cultural) that impacts on or is affected by agriculture in theregion and (3) to undertake a critical assessment of the recentevolution and current situation of production systems,in particular an evaluation of the performance and impactsof the three main systems of production in the region: theindigenous/traditional, the conventional/productivist andthe emerging agroecological system. The conceptual framework,context and current situation (Chapter 1), as well asthe historical analysis of the role of knowledge, science andtechnology in agriculture (Chapter 2), will provide the elementsneeded for analyzing future scenarios (Chapter 3) andoptions for the future (Chapters 4 and 5). In particular, aneffort is to be made to evaluate how agricultural knowledge,science and technology systems can contribute to the goalsof sustainable development and in particular to reducinghunger and poverty, improving nutrition and human health,strengthening ways of life and equity and achieving environmentalsustainability.Reducing hunger and poverty, improving human nutrition,strengthening ways of life and achieving environmentallyand socially sustainable economic development remainon the social and economic agenda of all local, national,regional and global strategies and interventions. Similarly,generating, accessing and using knowledge, science andtechnology are considered driving factors of and thereforefundamental components in such strategies and interventions,especially those geared to rural development and povertyreduction.1World Bank (WB), Food and Agriculture Organization of theUnited Nations (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO),United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United NationsDevelopment Program (UNDP), United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF).


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 5Figure 1-1. Supply of food and percentage of population malnourished in LAC countries 2000-2002.Source: FAO, 2004.The conceptual framework (Figure 1-2) taken as a referencefor developing the content of this report seeks to understandand analyze the interrelations of the agriculturalknowledge, science and technology systems, the agriculturalproduction systems and the contextual factors and variablesas a basis for retrospective and prospective analysisof their contribution to the attainment of the objectives ofdevelopment and sustainability. The AKST systems can beunderstood as the set of actors (individuals and organizations),networks, configurations and interfaces among themthat interact in generating, reconfiguring and disseminatinginformation and technologies for innovation (institutionaland technological) of agricultural production systemsthrough processes of social learning regulated and guidedby negotiated standards and rules for the purpose of improvingthe relationships among knowledge, technology, theenvironment and human development. The AKST systemsaim to improve the performance indicators of agriculturalproduction systems through processes of technological innovation.In the conventional approaches to systems, the vulnerabilityof agricultural production systems is conceived ofbased on the worldview of the outside expert who acts underhis or her universal conception of reality on the localviews and interests and reproduces a division of labor inthe process of generating, accessing and using knowledgethat transforms producers to mere receptacles of values,concepts and paradigms generated far from their contextand without any commitment to their needs, demands, oraspirations. This linear mode of intervention, in which justa few generate, others transfer and the thousands of producersadopt the technological innovations, has prevailed in thelast 50 years. To the contrary, in the Agricultural Knowledgeand Information Systems (AKIS) approach, the systems areconsidered to be a social construct in which the actors whoconstitute it perceive their interdependence, come to agreementon the present and future systematic vision, negotiateprinciples, premises, objectives, strategies and courses of actionand systematize their experiences and lessons throughsemi-structured processes of interpretation and interventionnegotiated through the integrated management of knowledgeand innovation.The integrated management of knowledge and innovationsuggests identifying the worldview—conception ofreality—that conditions the ways of thinking and acting ofthose who interact to transform their reality and therefore iscentered on the changing web of relationships and meaningsthat influence perceptions, decisions and actions in humaninitiatives. Accordingly, this mode of intervention considersthe actors of the social context in which the new technologiesare generated and applied as being co-responsible atevery stage of the process of generating, validating and usingthe relevant information and technologies for innovation inagriculture.Agricultural production systems include all the activitiesfor producing food, fibers, energy, biomass and environmentalservices such as landscape management and carbonsequestration. These productive and service activities entailthe social and economic organization of the labor force, ruralresources and information (direct drivers) with differentperformances in light of indicators such as efficiency, productivity,competitiveness, equity, quality and environmentalsustainability.In processes of innovation, science and technology areimportant but not sufficient components for attaining theobjectives of development and sustainability, as they areconditioned by variables and factors from the regional andglobal context in their different dimensions (indirect drivers),including social, economic, institutional, cultural, politicaland environmental. The critical external factors arecapable of bringing to bear strong influences on agriculturalproduction systems, determining internal obsolescences,shortcomings of capacities and resources and flaws in theirrelationship with the external environment.


6 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportFigure 1-2. IAASTD Conceptual Framework.In Latin America and the Caribbean, little progresshas been made toward the millennium development goals(UNDP, 2005a). Based on the index of purchasing powerparity of individuals and progress in fighting malnutritionand hunger, the region tends towards impoverishment, andthe number of malnourished people in the region has diminishedvery slowly. In particular, in LAC in the last 10years the number of poor and the rate of inequality hasincreased (Cardoso and Helwege, 1992; Rosenthal, 1996;Berry, 1998; O’Donnell and Tockman 1998; Hoffman andCenteno, 2003; Portes and Hoffman, 2003; CEPAL, 2004a;Ferranti et al., 2004).Notwithstanding the great biodiversity and availabilityof natural resources, the rate of environmental degradationis the highest in the world, largely because of the type of agriculturaldevelopment (industrial productivist model) pursuedover the last 50 years. From 1970 to 2000, on averagesix hectares were deforested daily, only 60% of which wasused for agricultural production; the remaining 40% wereabandoned due to problems of degradation and land speculation(UNEP, 2002a). Increases in production and more intenseuse of the land, particularly in tropical areas, have ledto problems of compaction, salinization, desertification, soilerosion, water pollution and negative effects on biodiversityand human health. The environmental, economic and socialvulnerability of the planet, lifestyles, productive systemsand ecosystems is associated with industrial developmentthat has accorded priority to the mechanical and instrumentaldimension over human, social and ethical considerationsin human relations with other forms of life and withnature.If this vulnerability reflects problems brought about byhuman action, sustainability can only emerge from sociallearning (Bhouraskar, 2005) and through human interaction(Röling, 2003) to create consensus-based actions that transcendparticular private interests. Nonetheless, the proposalsand solutions of the majority of development “experts”reveal that they themselves are held hostage to the mode ofinnovation (mode of interpretation + mode of intervention)that has prevailed in creating the problem that we need tograsp if we are to be able to overcome it. Following AlbertEinstein, who said that it was not possible to overcome acomplex problem using the same method that gave rise toit, this evaluation is done based on the premise that it isnot possible to overcome complex situations using the samemode of interpretation and the same mode of interventionthat gave rise to them. Therefore, it is urgent to undertake acritical analysis of the factors that gave rise to the presentdaysituation of poverty, hunger, inequality and environmentaldegradation so as to avoid falling once again intothe same trap and to be able to propose options with realpossibilities of change.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 7The schema for generating knowledge, the process ofsocial learning and the innovation in agriculture which, itis hoped, will produce the conditions for and viability ofhuman development is characterized and influenced by a dynamiccontext in which development processes are the resultof policies formulated and applied based on the objectivesand promises of the socioeconomic development models. Inorder for the AKST system to have a positive impact on thechanges, leading to improvements in the standards of livingand quality of life, the system has to be sensitive to stimuliand indicators that point to the degrees and nature of thechanges demanded for attaining the development and sustainabilityobjectives, taking into account alternative futurescenarios.Constructing scenarios is a methodology used to supportthe understanding of the future and decision-makingon current policies and strategies. The scenarios offer alikely vision, distant in time, of the nature of complex phenomenaand a model of how different sorts of phenomenawill evolve (social, economic, environmental, technological)and interact. The use of scenarios makes it possible to managethe uncertainty that necessarily characterizes the future,depending on premises about the decisions of the social actorsin relation to various macro variables.Accordingly, applying the conceptual framework proposedentails, first, characterizing the global and regionalcontext in which both the AKST systems and the agriculturalproduction systems are found and analyzing the recenthistory and current situation of Latin American agriculturewith special emphasis on the performance of productionsystems. This assessment, along with an assessment of theAKST systems (Chapter 2) and an elaboration of plausiblefuture scenarios (Chapter 3) will be an input for proposinga series of realistic options that may contribute to attainingthe goals of reducing poverty, hunger and inequity, aswell as attaining environmentally sustainable development(Chapters 4 and 5).1.2 Latin American and Caribbean AgriculturalProduction SystemsRecognizing the structural heterogeneity and diversity ofactors, cultures and knowledge of Latin American agricultureboth regionally and subregionally, it was decided toconsider three agricultural systems for the purposes of thisevaluation:1. Traditional/indigenous (includes peasant);2. Conventional/productivist;3. Agroecological.The importance of each of these systems varies not onlyamong subregions, but also within each subregion and evenwithin each country. The performance and impacts of threeprincipal agricultural systems are presented in 1.7 (Table1-1).The traditional/indigenous system is a family agriculturalsystem, primarily involving family consumption, underwhich one can distinguish the ethnic systems constitutedby indigenous and Afro-descendant communities linked tothe territory and the peasant systems. It is based on local/ancestral knowledge and is not very well articulated to themarket for inputs and products, though today many peasantsmarket part of their production. In general, this systemis high in agrobiodiversity, outside inputs are used to a limitedextent, if at all and labor is drawn from the family (Altieri,1999; Toledo, 2005). The cosmovision of indigenouscommunities assumes a relationship with natural resourcesthat goes beyond an economic-extractive activity: it impliesan ecological-cultural-spiritual vision linked to the territory.(For the example of the Andean world view, see Figure 1-3.)This system stands out for sustainability with respect to theenvironment and energetic balance, with variable levels ofproduction (Barrera-Bassols and Toledo, 2005). In severalregions traditional/indigenous agriculture is displaced tomarginal lands and much of the knowledge that undergirdsit is being lost (David et al., 2001; Deere, 2005). In theseconditions one finds low yields. In most countries of theregion, governmental/institutional support has not fosteredthe strengthening of this system.At the other end of the spectrum one finds the conventional/productivistsystem, also called the “industrialsystem.” This system is characterized by a high degree ofmechanization, monocultures and the use of external inputs,such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, as well as contractlabor. It is based on technological knowledge and ishighly articulated to the market and integrated to productivechains. This system has been supported by developmentmodels and it has benefited from support systems such ascredit and technological capital (Chapter 2). Its prominencein the national and international markets makes the conventional/productivistsystem stand out for high levels of productivityand competitiveness. Nonetheless, it gives rise tosignificant negative externalities in terms of environmental,social and cultural costs (see 1.7).As the environmental and human costs of conventionalproduction have increased, the agroecological system is becomingmore important. It is based on the knowledge ofagroecology stemming from the interaction between scientificand traditional knowledge and aimed at reducing thenegative impacts of the conventional systems through productivediversification and the use of ecologically-friendlytechnologies. This system is characterized by the search forsustainability in social, economic, cultural and environmentalterms; scant articulation in productive chains; and astrong link to the market for differentiated products, especiallyorganic products. The systems described are expressedin the subregions with differentiated nuances and throughmixed forms or particular combinations.1.3 RegionalizationLatin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is a very extensiveand varied geographic region. It extends from Baja California(32 1/2° N) to Tierra del Fuego (55° S) and has a totalof 2.050 billion ha (including internal bodies of water) in45 countries with 569 million inhabitants. Given its greatrange of longitudes and altitudes, as well as its great biodiversity,LAC has a wide diversity of ecosystems includingmoist tropical jungles, dry forests, conifer forests, temperateforests, tropical savannahs, temperate savannahs, páramosand desert environments. To facilitate the analysis and characterizationof the region in this evaluation we will refer tolarge geographic zones as follows: Southern Cone AndeanRegion, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean (Table


8 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 1-1. Main characteristics of agricultural systems considered in the assessment. Source: Authors’ elaborationMain actorsInputs (type and origin)Knowledge and skillsDiversification ofproductionLinks to the marketLaborSource: Authors’ elaboration.Indigenous/ traditionalsystemIndigenous communities,Afro descendants andpeasants.Low external input, localtechnologyLocal/ancestralknowledge. Stronglyrooted to the territoryMulti-crops; highbiological diversityLittle or no linking withinput/output markets.Production largelyoriented to familyconsumptionFamily and communallabor using differentforms of laborexchanges.Conventional/ productivistsystemAgribusiness, small, mediumand large producersChemical inputs, technologicalmachinery and tools, externallybought fossil fuelAcademic/ technologicalknowledgeGreat scale monocultures withspatial and temporal rotationsStrong articulation withproduction chains and linksto national and internationalmarkets.Dominated by hired laborAgroecological systemSmall, medium andlarge-scale producers,professionalsLow dependency onexternal inputs. Biologicalinputs produced fromwithin the system. Hightechnology integratedto endogenous, natural,physical and energeticprocessesAcademic/ technologicalknowledge and knowhowwith emphasison local/ancestralknowledge. Scientificknowledge stronglybased on ecologicalscience.Multi-crops, with spatialand temporal integrationLittle articulation withproduction chains,but strong linking withmarkets of differentiatedproducts.Family and hired labor1-2). Nonetheless, on occasion it will be necessary to referto the regions based on the natural ecosystems, such astropical jungles, pampas and cerrados, mangroves, etc.Due to the great diversity of ecosystems and climatesin the region, LAC is characterized by a great diversity andcomplexity of agroecological zones, as well as types of productionassociated with these zones. Table 1-3 shows theagroecological zones of the region as well as the principaltypes of agriculture in these zones.1.4 Global Context: Main TrendsTo perform a critical evaluation of AKST systems and ofagriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean, one mustknow the context in which these systems operate.Since the 1950s, the combined effects of three revolutions—technological,economic and cultural—have been givingrise to new realities (Castells, 1996), shaped by old and newcontradictions, which transform (in a differentiated manner)the many “worlds” that coexist in our region (Capra, 1982;Restivo, 1988; Dicken, 1992; Sachs, 1992; Barbour, 1993;Najmanovich, 1995; Castells, 1996, 1997, 1998; Chisholm,1996; Escobar, 1998a; Wallerstein, 1999; Busch, 2000,2001; Rifkin, 2000; Mooney, 2002; Santamaría-Guerra,2003). The main global trends can be grouped as: (1) technologicalchanges, (2) macroeconomic changes, especiallyglobalization, (3) the emerging resistance movements withnew outlooks and (4) environmental/natural changes.Among the main technological changes we see the emergenceof an immaterial economy dependent mainly on an intangiblefactor—information—and on the communicationsinfrastructure. From this technology is emerging a digitalhemisphere whose dynamic is dependent on virtual networksof power through which capital, decisions and informationflow. The rise of the network concept, supported bynew possibilities of digital technology and communicationsinfrastructure, has implications for the management of interdisciplinary,inter-institutional and international projects.Also worthy of special note are the emerging scientific andtechnological possibilities (robotics, new materials, nanotechnology,cellular and molecular genetics, informationtechnology, etc.) that point simultaneously to new advancesimportant for humankind and to new inequalities withinand among social groups and nations.Globalization has accelerated the construction of aworld economic and political order whose corporate andtransnational nature is becoming consolidated under thedominant influence of actors with global interests and expansionistambitions. This model has led to the decline of the


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 9Figure 1-3. Andean cosmovision. Source: Gonzales, 1999; Gonzales et al., 1999.sovereignty and autonomy of the nation-state, so as to giverise to the prevalence of transnational rules over nationalones, giving rise to a crisis of representative democracy, withthe emergence of a supranational state-network. Under thisnew model one notes, among other things, the end of thesocial contract between capital and labor under the notionof “labor flexibility,” and the construction of transnationalproductive chains outside the control of nation-states andlocal actors through technological convergence and productivedecentralization, as well as a process of homogenizationthat has led to the very fast erosion of cultural diversity.The process of globalization has not been accepted passivelyby the governments and peoples of the region. The lastdecade has seen the formation of regional and subregionaleconomic blocs for internal integration (economic, technologicaland political) and to counter external competition,as well as a struggle to establish a global civil society dependenton participatory democracy networks and emergenceand proliferation of social movements to vindicate and upholdthe importance of the interdependence among human,social and ecological considerations. These trends towardsparticipatory democracy through social movements includethe struggle for sustainable development mediated by thecreation of a global civil society to monitor the excesses oftransnational corporate capitalism; the rise of initiatives anddynamics that accord priority to local development as thestarting point for transformations committed to human, socialand ecological needs; the struggle for indigenous rights;and the struggle to control (and, in general, contest) theproducts of science and even the process of doing science(anti-GMO groups, anti-human cloning groups and groupsto stop animal suffering, among others).Finally, the environmental changes, particularly theloss of biodiversity and global warming, have assumed a


10 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 1-2. Geographic regions and countries in Latin America andthe Caribbean. Source: CIA, 2008Region Countries Area (km 2 )Argentina 2,766,890Brazil 8,514,876Chile 756,102*French Guiana 90,000Southern Cone *Guyana 214,969Malvinas Is. 1, 217Paraguay 406,752*Surinam 163,820Uruguay 176,215Subtotal 13,089,624Andean regionCentralAmerica andMexicoThe CaribbeanBolivia 1,098,581Colombia 1,138,914Ecuador 283,561Peru 1,285,216Venezuela, Rep. Bolivarian 912,050Subtotal 4,718,322Belize 22,966Costa Rica 51,000El Salvador 21,041Guatemala 108,889Honduras 112,088Mexico 1,964,375Nicaragua 120,340Panama 75,517Subtotal 2,476,216Anguilla 91Antigua and Barbuda 442Aruba 180Bahamas 13,878Barbados 430British Virgin Islands 153Cayman Islands 259Cuba 109,886Dominica 751Dominican Republic 48,671Grenada 344Guadeloupe 1,705Haiti 27,750Jamaica 10,991Martinique 1,102Montserrat 102Netherlands Antilles Is. 800Puerto Rico 8,870Saint Kitts and Nevis 261Saint Lucia 539Saint Martin 53Saint Vincent/Grenadines 389Trinidad and Tobago 5,130Turks and Caicos Is. 948US Virgin Islands 352Subtotal 234,341Total 20,518,503* These countries, although located in South America, are frequently consideredas part of the Caribbean due to their cultural affiliation with the rest of the Caribbeanregion.central role in the different forms of international discourse.Climate change, for example, has been included as an itemfor discussion at the United Nations Security Council, eventhough not all the members of the Security Council approveof its inclusion. There are also multiple international agreementsrelated to biodiversity and agriculture, which arecrucial in an agricultural development agenda for the region,mainly when knowledge, science and technology arethought of as instruments for propelling such development.The most important initiatives for harmonizing regulatoryframeworks in agriculture include (1) the Cartagena Protocolon Biosafety, which seeks to protect biodiversity in lightof the risks associated with genetically modified organisms(transgenics); (2) the International Plant Protection Convention(IPPC), which seeks to prevent the dissemination andintroduction of pests that affect plants and plant productsand to promote appropriate measures for combating pests;(3) Codex Alimentarius, created in 1963 by the FAO andWHO to develop food standards, regulations and other relatedtexts, such as codes of practices under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program; (4) the World IntellectualProperty Organization (WIPO) established to foster the protectionand effective use of intellectual property worldwidethrough cooperation with member states and other interestedparties; (5) the International Union for the Protectionof New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), an intergovernmentalorganization; and (6) the International Treaty on PhytogeneticResources for Food and Agriculture.There are other agreements related to controls on internationaltrade and the use of potentially toxic substances,which largely have to do with agriculture because they includechemical pesticides that pose a high risk to the environmentand human and animal health, such as: (1) theBasel Convention on the Transboundary Transport of ToxicSubstances; (2) the FAO Code of Conduct on the Distributionand Use of Pesticides; (3) the Montreal Protocol forSubstances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; (4) the RotterdamConvention, which established the prior informed consent(PIC) procedure for trade in prohibited or severely restrictedsubstances; and (5) the Stockholm Convention on PersistentOrganic Pollutants (POPs), which includes more than adozen organochlorinated pesticides, including DDT (UNEP,2001; Bejarano, 2004).As a result of these global changes, the swift restructuringof agriculture and the global food system is striking.Reflecting the nature, direction, priorities and contradictionsof current global changes, both agriculture and thefood system are being transformed by several changes. Forexample, agriculture and the food system are and will beprofoundly restructured with the application of techniquesassociated with the revolutions in modern biotechnology(genetic engineering), nanotechnology, robotics and informationtechnology and by the construction of transnationalproductive chains transforming the nature of productiveand power relations, in which emerging global actors decideon the nature, direction and priorities of the newtransnational agriculture. With the emergence of new scientificand technological revolutions, agribusiness, currentlyaimed at food production, is working on non-food products,such as energy products (biofuels, such as biodiesel andethanol) and new fibers resulting from biotechnology and


Table 1-3. Agroecological areas / types of production in Latin America and the Caribbean. Source: Dixon et al., 2001Agroecologicalareas/ Types ofproductionCountries or regions withthese types of production orecosystemsTotalarea(millionCroppedarea(% ofPopulation(millions)Agriculturalpopulation(% of region)Main subsistenceformsPrevalence ofpovertyha) region)1. Irrigated North of Mexico, coast and 200 3.7 11 9 Horticulture, fruit, Low-moderateinternal valleys of Peru andcattleChile, Argentina2. Forest based Amazon River basin (Brazil, 600 1.0 11 9 Subsistence, cattle Low-moderateBolivia, Peru, Ecuador,ranchingColombia, Venezuela,Surinam and Guyana) andforested zones of Mexicoand Central America3. Coastal Central America, Mexico, 186 10.7 20 17 Export crops/tree Highly variableplantation and the Caribbean and northeastcrops, fishing,mixedcoast and occidental area oftubers, tourismSouth America4. Intensive mixed Central region of Brazil 81 16.0 10 8 Coffee, horticulture, Lowfruit, off-farm work5. Mixed cereals South of Brazil, north of 100 18.0 7 6 Rice and livestock Low-moderateand livestock Uruguay6. Moist temperate Coastal area of the center 13 12.3


12 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportdrugs such as vaccines resulting from the combined activityof biotechnology and nanotechnology (Friedland et al.,1991; Goodman and Redclift, 1991; Friedmann, 1993; Bonnanoet al., 1994; McMichael, 1994; Goodman and Watts,1998; Busch, 2001; Mooney, 2002).Countering these trends one finds the rise of very strongrural social movements and indigenous movements that proposealternatives for autonomy, food sovereignty, agroecologyand peasant networks (Vía Campesina, MST and theWorld Social Forum, among others), as well as the growingnumber of consumers who demand local, organic, sociallyfair, diverse, nutritional and safe foods (Slow Food Movementand consumer associations).Because of these and other changes, agriculture as weknow it is facing a profound transformation, with implicationsfor its protagonists whose impacts are not yet clear,much less understood. To understand the current situationof agriculture in LAC, one must review the history to understandthe models, visions and development paradigms thatshaped the strategies of intervention that gave rise to the consequenceswe are trying to overcome.1.5 Regional Context1.5.1 Evolution of development modelsDevelopment strategies in LAC were not designed in a politicalvacuum, but rather were decisively influenced by politicalevents inside and outside the region that promoted andcontinue to promote development models that directly affectthe agrarian policies of the region and AKST systems.With the economic expansion of the United States afterthe Second World War came the need to expand externalmarkets for its products, find new investment opportunities,access cheap raw materials to support growing industryand establish a global network of military power to ensureaccess for consumers, markets and raw materials. Consequently,the region’s development was subordinated to U.S.interests and growth needs. To foster development andmaintain economic stability internationally, the industrializedcountries, led by the United States, assigned a new roleto the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,institutions originally created to rebuild Europe (Stiglitz,2003). Yet the type of development promoted through thenew international institutions is highly conditioned on theeconomic, political and military needs of the industrializedcountries, especially the United States.In the 1950s, President Harry Truman of the UnitedStates held great influence over the path of development inLAC. In his Fair Deal, Truman proposed the “technification”(intensification) of agriculture as one of the instruments foremerging from underdevelopment (a term he introduced inthe international discourse). During his administration, aperiod marked by the proliferation of development projectsbegan. In the 1960s, the program that most influenced thetype of development in the region was the Alliance for Progress,a hemispheric initiative led by President John F. Kennedyto counter the potential influence of communist Cubain the rest of LAC and to promote the U.S. economy (Smith,1999); its development strategy entailed articulating thepeasant sector to the market (Escobar, 1995). World Bankdocuments make clear that under this development strategy,the peasants of LAC had two options: (1) to becomesmall entrepreneurs, or, (2) to disappear from the market(or from the agricultural sector). This strategy was focusedon modernizing and monetizing the rural sector and makingthe transition from isolation to integration with the nationaleconomy. The technological vehicle for this strategy was theGreen Revolution, yet its results in terms of improving theliving conditions of the rural population have been muchdebated (Glaeser, 1987; Rosset et al., 2000; Evenson andGollin, 2003). With the Green Revolution food productionin LAC increased 8%, yet during the same period hunger inthe region increased 19% (and this was not due to populationincrease, as the total amount of food per person alsoincreased).During the 1960s and 1970s, this conception of developmentheld sway. To a certain point one can say that thesedevelopment policies were successful since during thesetwo decades Latin America and the Caribbean experiencedunprecedented economic growth. Most of the countries attainedper capita growth of 2.4% annually during the 1960sand some countries were able to maintain this rate in the1970s (IDB, 1989). This growth was based largely on theimport substitution model developed and promulgated bythe United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America(ECLAC) (Bulmer-Thomas, 1987; Glaeser, 1987). Thiswas a period of fast-paced industrialization and economicintegration at the regional level. Yet once again the benefitsof this growth were not distributed equitably and in manycases they did not even reach the most impoverished sectorsof the region (ICCARD, 1989; Conroy et al., 1996). Thisperiod also saw the resurgence of military dictatorships inLAC. The increase in oil prices and the energy crisis of 1973led to high levels of borrowing, which in turn resulted inan economic crisis in the 1980s. The collapse of the LatinAmerican and Caribbean economies in the 1980s led the Inter-AmericanDevelopment Bank to name this period “TheLost Decade in Latin America” (IDB, 1989).Given the threats of default by Mexico, Brazil and Peru,the international financial institutions, chiefly the WorldBank and the International Monetary Fund, mobilized toimpose structural adjustment programs on the economiesof LAC. They also pressured the governments to imposeausterity programs. The response to the crisis of the 1980swas the return to the liberal policies of the early years of thecentury, but now stronger than before and reinforced by aneoliberal program globally (IDB, 1989).Guided by the international financial institutions’ structuraladjustment programs, the wave of liberalization andderegulation implemented in LAC in the 1990s extendedto the rural sector. In addition to policies such as freeingup the economy and open markets geared to exports, theadjustment programs fostered a reduction in national industrialprotection, lowering tariffs and cutting back on socialspending and social development, including investment inagriculture.In the last 15 years government economic policies havebeen geared to applying the rules of the so-called “WashingtonConsensus” (Stiglitz, 2003), in particular, policies to(1) ensure fiscal discipline (putting finances in order, fiscalresponsibility, cutting public spending and voluntary retirementplans, among others); (2) implement tax reform


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 13(providing for universal incentives, tax reform); (3) freeup imports (unilateral lowering of tariffs, free trade agreements);(4) privatize state enterprises and services (electricity,communications and ports); (5) deregulate the domesticmarket (freeing up the price system and eliminating subsidies);and (6) reform the state and introduce labor flexibility(reforms to the labor code and creating special regimes forforeign investment).From an economic and commercial perspective, theUnited States, Canada and some Latin American governmentsgave impetus to the creation of the Free Trade Areaof the Americas (FTAA) and subregional or bilateral variationsof it. The FTAA is the regional expression of neoliberalglobalization that is trying to become established through aprocess of asymmetric integration and under the leadershipof the transnational companies. This asymmetric integrationseeks to reorganize the economic factors and naturalresources of Latin America and the Caribbean in keepingwith the interests of U.S. corporate capital. The promotersof these free trade agreements argue that foreign investmentwill lead to economic development benefiting all, butthese treaties, thus far, have had mixed effects (Gratius andStiftung, 2002; Lederman et al., 2003; Gallagher, 2004).NAFTA, the free trade agreement among the United States,Canada and Mexico, exemplifies the mixed effects of thesetreaties. For example, a study by the World Bank concludedthat due to NAFTA Mexico has come closer to the levels ofdevelopment of the United States and Canada (Ledermanet al., 2003). The study estimates that without NAFTA, thelevels of exports and foreign investment would have been25% and 40% (respectively) less than what was obtainedwith NAFTA. On the other hand, another study concludesthat the environmental cost of economic growth in Mexicoin the years in which NAFTA has been in force have been10% of annual GDP, or US$50 billion annually in damages(Gallagher, 2004). In addition, it is argued that underNAFTA the government of Mexico has lost the capacityto protect the environment and human rights and that itscitizens are losing the right to participate democratically indetermining the course and priorities of their development(Gratius and Stiftung, 2002).Following the neoliberal guidelines, IICA and othermultilateral regional organizations in the Latin Americancountries are implementing the New Rurality approach,with three main components: competitiveness of agricultureand rural production, equity in the rural sector and the creationof a new institutional framework (IICA, 2000). Theobjectives of the new rurality are geared toward (1) improvingand deepening the country involvment in internationalmarkets; (2) improving technically and professionalizingcrop, livestock and forestry production and agribusinessdevelopment; (3) improving the capacity of the public sectorto support sectoral development; (4) inducing graduallyand with supervision the transfer of public services to theprivate sector.The approach appears to take up anew some of thesame guidelines of the previous models, with similar results.The recent data on economic growth and inequality in LACin the first years of the millennium confirm this. Indeed, realper capita growth rates in the first four years of the millennium(2000-2004) were 2.1%, -1.1%, -2.1% and 0.5%, farbelow the averages attained in the 1960s and 1970s (CE-PAL, 2004b) and economic inequality in the region continuesto be the highest in the world (Ferranti et al., 2004).In summary, the development models that have guidedthe economic policies and, therefore, agrarian policies, inLAC after the Second World War have answered mainly tothe needs of the principal world power, the United States.With respect to agriculture and the development models, therole of the state is changing from producer and supervisor toorganizer and facilitator of the development processes in theagricultural sector. Second, the multinational companies arealready leading the process of technological development,especially in the area of biotechnology and consulting firmsand NGOs are quickly filling the spaces being abandonedby the state in different technical, environmental and socialareas. Finally, the privatization of utilities and resources associatedwith ecological services (such as water) distributesconservation costs locally among many, while the benefitsare reaped by just a few, who generally are not part of therural communities.1.5.2 Social context1.5.2.1 General situation of poverty in Latin America andthe CaribbeanFor the purposes of this evaluation, poverty is defined as apermanent condition of economic, social, political, healthand environmental vulnerability stemming from asymmetricalproperty, trade and power relations, with referenceto specific historical contexts and conditions that are ultimatelydetermined by the economic relations of productionand the development of the productive forces. Poverty isexpressed in the lack or scarcity of goods and services (suchas food, housing, education, health care, drinking water),resources (productive resources, employment, income) andsociopolitical conditions (human rights, economic, socialand cultural rights, political rights) essential for meeting thebasic needs that contribute to the loss or deterioration of thestandard of living and quality of life resulting from the difficultyaccessing, controlling and managing productive andnatural resources.There are two types of poverty in the region, structuraland transitory. Structural poverty (or “hard poverty”) affectsmainly indigenous communities, rural women and ethnicminorities. The people affected by this type of poverty generallyhave little if any education, scant productive resourcesif any, limited productive knowledge and few technical skillsand lack access to basic services. Transitory poverty affectspeasant families and rural households that have limited orno access to land and which are especially vulnerable to thechanges ushered in by the structural reforms, fluctuations inthe economic cycle and social and political instability. Crisesor sudden changes in economic policies have a detrimentalimpact on both agricultural and non-agricultural incomes,causing periodic declines in such incomes and deteriorationin living conditions.In 2005, Latin America and the Caribbean had a totalpopulation of 569 million people, 77.6% of whom areurban and 22.4% rural (CEPAL, 2006ab). At the same time,the region has a population of 209 million poor persons,81 million of whom are living in extreme poverty (CEPAL,


14 | Latin America and the Caribbean Report2006). Of the poor, children and youth are hardest hit, asthey accounted for approximately 60% of the poor as of2002 (CEPAL, 2003; Dirven, 2004).At the Millennium Summit, organized by the UnitedNations in 2000, the governments undertook to cut povertyin half in the following 15 years; even so, poverty reachedthe levels mentioned above. According to CEPAL (2006ab),the number of poor diminished in relative terms only 8.5%from 1990 to 2005, from 43.3% to 39.8% of the totalpopulation, whereas the number of people living in extremepoverty diminished, in the same period, from 22.5% to15.4%. In the rural areas the downward trend is similar, yetpoverty only declined in real terms from 65.4% to 58.8%of the rural population.According to almost all indicators, LAC is the mostunequal region in the world (Cardoso and Helwege, 1992;Rosenthal, 1996; Berry, 1998; O’Donnell and Tockman,1998; Hoffman and Centeno, 2003; Portes and Hoffman,2003; CEPAL, 2004; Ferranti et al., 2004). The Gini coefficient2 for the region is 0.52, whereas for the industrializedcountries of the OECD it is 0.332; in the Asian countries itis 0.40; and the Gini coefficient for Africa is 0.48. Note thatthe index of inequality is different from the poverty level:Africa is poorer than Latin America, but less unequal. Theworst cases are Bolivia, Brazil, Honduras, Colombia, Nicaragua,Dominican Republic, Chile, Guatemala, Paraguay,Mexico and Argentina (Table 1-4).In the late 1990s, six of every 10 poor lived in urbanzones, making Latin America and the Caribbean the developingregion that best exemplifies the worldwide process ofthe “urbanization of poverty” (in contrast with Asia andAfrica, where most of the poor population is in the ruralareas). Nonetheless, the impact of poverty in LAC continuesto be greater among rural residents, especially amongwomen. Economic globalization and neoliberal policieshave affected the characteristics of the contemporary rurallabor market, reducing to a minimum or eliminating governmentprotection for workers, increasing unemploymentand underemployment and displacing small-scale producers(Valdés, 2005). Nonetheless, there have been areas in whichnon-traditional export crops have expanded opportunitiesfor rural employment, especially among women, thoughthese jobs are often seasonal, poorly paid and under precariousconditions involving mistreatment and discrimination(Deere, 2005).Most of the poor in the countries of the region were inthe rural areas until the early 1980s. As a result of the negativesocial impact of the “crisis of the lost decade” and ofthe advance of the process of urbanization, poverty came to2The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality developedby Italian statistician Corrado Gini. Normally it is used tomeasure income inequality, but it can also be used to measureany form of unequal distribution. The Gini coefficient isa number between 0 and 1, where 0 corresponds to perfectequality (everyone has the same income) and 1 corresponds toperfect inequality (one person has all the income and everyoneelse has none). The Gini index is the Gini coefficient expressedas a percentage and is equal to the Gini coefficient multipliedby 100.be located mostly in urban areas by the mid-1980s. Duringthe subsequent period of economic and social improvement,the urbanization of poverty continued, until it stabilized atabout 62% from 1994 to 1997 (as a result of a new increasein the number of rural poor) (Table 1-5).The statement that poverty in LAC is mainly an urbanphenomenon (Dirven, 2004) does not reflect the complexitiesof the situation. First, it should be noted that four largeand relatively urbanized countries—Brazil, Mexico, Colombiaand Argentina—dominate regional statistics. Second,surprisingly little is known of the degree of rural povertyin the region, since the estimates of poverty are incomplete,or little attention is paid in the analyses of poverty to ruralpoverty, especially as it affects the indigenous peoples of theregion; they have higher poverty levels and have never beenvery well-represented in the statistics. Urban poverty in LAChas been better studied and documented through surveys.Nonetheless, there is information in the region that clearlyillustrates the rural situation. For example, in three countries,the rural population is over half the national population(Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras). Since a much higherproportion of the rural population is poor, in at least 12countries most of the poor live in rural areas. In at leastfive countries (Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico andPanama) poverty is disproportionately distributed in ruralareas. Finally, in all the countries of Latin America, thelowest income deciles, i.e., the extremely poor, are mostlymade up of rural population. If one compares the averagestandard of living of the urban poor with that of the ruralpoor, it is clear that poverty is much more severe in ruralareas.According to CEPAL (2006ab), in absolute terms, thenumber of poor in urban areas has also increased, sincein 1980 there were 73 million urban poor. The number ofpeasants in extreme poverty has climbed, over the last twodecades, from 39.9 million to 46.4 million. The gains of the1990s in terms of poverty alleviation have not offset theincrease in poverty during the previous decade.It is estimated that eight to ten million rural householdsare headed by women; some two or three million womenperform seasonal work in agriculture or agroindustry; and30 to 40 million women with spouses or partners are partlyor entirely responsible for agricultural production and smallscalerural industry. Rural women have become part of thepoorest population groups as a result of internal conflicts,the increase in the migration of men within and outside thecountry, natural disasters and the consequences of structuraladjustment (see 1.6.2.6).In terms of education, the illiterate population 15 yearsand over accounts for 9.5% of the total in this age group inLAC (CEPAL, 2004ab). Illiteracy is 10.3% among womenand 8.8% among men. The drop-out rate is 37% for LatinAmerican adolescents. Almost half drop out early, withoutfinishing primary education, but in several countries most ofthose who drop out do so in the first year of secondary education;and most are in the lowest-income level, reinforcingthe chain of inequality from childhood. Economic difficulties,work, or looking for employment are the main reasonsyoung people give for dropping out of school. Amongwomen, other reasons are household tasks, pregnancy andmaternity.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 15Table 1-4. Gini coefficient of the income distribution around the years 1999, 2002 and 2005. Source: CEPAL 2006based on special tabulation of the household surveys in each country.Inequality level Around 1999 Around 2002 Around 2005Very High0.580–1Brazil 0.640Bolivia 0.586Nicaragua 0.584Brazil 0.639Bolivia 0.614Honduras 0.588Brazil 0.613Honduras 0.587Colombia 0.584High0.520–0.579Colombia 0.572Paraguay 0.565Honduras 0.564Chile 0.560Guatemala 0.560Dominican Rep. 0.554Peru 0.545Argentina b 0.539México 0.539Ecuador b 0.521Nicaragua 0.579Argentina b 0.578Paraguay 0.570Colombia 0.569Chile 0.559Dominican Rep. 0.544Guatemala 0.542El Salvador 0.525Peru 0.525Nicaragua (2001) 0.579Dominican Rep. 0.569Chile 0.550Guatemala (2002) 0.542Paraguay 0.536México 0.528Argentina b 0.526Medium0.470–0.519El Salvador 0.518Panama b 0.513Venez. (Rep. Bol.) 0.498Costa Rica 0.473Panama b 0.515México 0.514Ecuador b 0.513Venez. (Rep. Bol.) 0.500Costa Rica 0.488Ecuador b 0.513Peru 0.505Panama b 0.500El Salvador 0.493Venez. (Rep. Bol.) 0.490Costa Rica 0.470Low0–0.469Uruguay b 0.440 Uruguay b 0.455 Uruguay b 0.451aThe limit values of each category of the Gini coefficient are the same employed in chapter I of CEPAL, 2004.bUrban areas.In rural areas in particular, a very small percentage ofthe poor complete their secondary studies (UNDP, 2005a).In addition to the supply factors (availability of schools andquality of teaching), this may also reflect demand factors:with adolescents who work on the farm, or as wage-earningemployees, the opportunity cost of sending them to school—without considering the costs of schooling and of room andboard for those who must live in the town—is considerablygreater than in urban areas.On average, illiteracy in rural areas is two to six timesgreater than in urban areas and on average rural dwellershave three fewer years of schooling than urban dwellers.If one divides schooling into primary and secondary, itis clear that the difference is not so great at the primarylevel; nonetheless, the situation is completely different forthe secondary level and the percentages are even lowerin poor rural areas (World Bank, 1992; Psacharopoulos,1993).Table 1-5. Evolution of urban and rural poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean (Absolute and relative numbers).Poor PopulationYears1970 1980 1986 1990 1994 1997Total 119,800 135,900 170,200 200,200 201,500 204,000Urban 44,200 62,900 94,400 121,700 125,900 125,800Rural 75,600 73,000 75,800 78,500 75,600 78,200Urbanization of poverty(percentage)36.9 46.3 55.5 60.8 62.5 61.7Percent of poor householdsTotal households 45 35 — 41 38 36Urban Area (a) 29 25 — 35 32 30Rural Area (b) 67 54 — 58 56 54Rural/Urban relation (b/a) 2.3 2.2 — 1.6 1.7 1.8Note: percent of poor households (100: Total households according to area of residence).Source: CEPAL, 1994b, 1999.


16 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportThe poor in rural areas, compared to those who arenot poor, generally have worse health, since the families aremore numerous and more dependent and access to healthservices is more limited. The availability of informationon the delivery of health services and other services is veryscarce. Nonetheless, from 2000 to 2005 infant mortality—one key indicator of health—was 35.4 per 1,000 live birthsin LAC; for males it was 38.8 per 1,000 live births and forfemales 31.8 per 1,000 live births. In addition, for most ofthe countries, those rates are considerably greater in ruralthan in urban areas (CEPAL, 2006ab). Infant mortality hasdeclined gradually since 1990 in most of the countries, althoughit is still alarming in Haiti, at 54.1 per 1,000 livebirths; and Bolivia has the highest infant mortality in SouthAmerica, at 45.6 per 1,000 live births.CEPAL (2004) reports that chronic malnutrition in theregion affects 15% of children under five years. In most ofthe countries of the region, children in rural areas, wherefood is produced, have the highest levels of malnutrition(Dirven, 2004). In addition, an inverse relationship has beennoted between malnutrition and agricultural output. Countrieswith malnutrition of 0 to 10% have 400% greater percapita food production than countries with malnutrition of10 to 20% and 320% greater per capita food productionthan countries with malnutrition of 20 to 65%.Another factor behind social deterioration in the regionis the lack of employment and its low quality (Dirven, 2004).The degradation of working conditions in the countrysidein LAC is reflected in the low incomes of rural families and,therefore, in a persistent increase of migration from ruralareas to the cities, creating mega-cities with areas of extremepoverty and greater demand, in many cases impossible tomeet, for services in the main cities of LAC (Davis, 2005).The structural adjustment programs promoted and imposedby the International Monetary Fund, combined with economicliberalization, have provoked a massive exodus fromthe countryside to the cities (Bryceson et al., 2000). In addition,there is migration to industrialized countries, eitherin the region, or to Europe or the United States. Examplesof this phenomenon include Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador,Peru and Nicaragua; remittances become a very importantsource of income for rural and urban poor families in thesecountries (Comunidad Andina, 2006) (see 1.5.3).1.5.2.2 Inequality in land tenureLatin America and the Caribbean represent the most extensivereserve of arable land in proportion to population.The region has 576 million ha (UNEP, 2002b), equivalent to30% of the arable land in the world and 28.5% of the totalland in the region. Nonetheless, the region has the greatestinequality in land distribution in the world (Figure 1-4;Ferranti et al., 2004). Historically, the land tenure systemsin LAC were based on private property, the concentrationof agricultural lands in the hands of a few families and theexistence of a large number of peasant families or landlessworkers, in what was called the latifundia-minifundia complexand the plantation economy (Lastarria-Cornhiel andMelmed-Sanjal, 1998). The latifundistas had vast expansesof land and those best suited for agriculture, while the smallfarms, or minifundia, survived in the marginal areas.Figure 1-4. Distribution of operational holdings of agriculturalland worldwide. Source: Author’s elaboration using data from Deiningerand Olinto, 2000The agrarian reforms of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s attemptedto modify this situation of inequity by expropriatingand purchasing large properties and redistributing themto peasants with little or no land, in general in the contextof political and social mobilizations. Nonetheless, from aneconomic perspective, the agrarian reforms of this perioddid not succeed in reducing the levels of poverty of the ruralpopulation (Groppo, 1997). The reforms were limitedin terms of the redistribution of land and allocation of landwas not accompanied by supplemental measures (such astechnical assistance, loans and market access) that might enablethe small-scale producers to emerge from poverty.Several decades later, the effects of the agrarian reformson relations of production in agriculture, the developmentof a modern capitalist economy and the problems of povertyand equity continue to be part of the debate (Van Dam,1999). In several countries large haciendas have given riseto commercial agriculture or agroindustry that controls thelion’s share of the productive process, for both the domesticmarket and increasingly geared to external markets. At present,the modernization of Latin American agriculture hasdramatic effects in terms of tenure, since there is a high concentrationof property and agricultural production, whosemain effects have been to displace small producers and peasants,leading to impoverishment, migration and social exclusion(Van Dam, 1999).Nowadays, the forms of land tenure in the region arehighly varied and complex. Nonetheless, within this heterogeneousreality, the bipolarity persists in which the latifundiumhas been replaced by the capitalist enterprise thatgears its production almost exclusively to the export market,which no longer maintains economic relations with theminifundista peasants, who produce for their own subsistenceand for the local and regional markets. At the sametime, the impoverished small landowners are exposed tothe constant threat of being forced to sell their land andother assets to buy foods. For the landless, access to land isgenerally difficult, insufficient and insecure. The systems of


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 17renting (arriendo) or sharecropping (aparcería) increasinglyappear as a seasonal solution to the problems of inequity.Most authors coincide in noting that the new landpolicy model being applied in Latin America uses marketmechanisms instead of policy reforms. Nonetheless, severalanalysts consider that allowing the market to be the mainland policy instrument has not resolved the problem of landredistribution, nor allowed peasants access to land; rather,it has deepened the existing inequality (Thiesenhusen,1996; Rosset et al., 2006). Indeed, the number of smallscaleproducers in countries such as Brazil, Chile, Uruguay,Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico has continued todecline, while inequality in land distribution has increased(David et al., 2001).Another indicator of inequity is access to landed propertyfor rural women, resulting from the specific and disadvantageousconditions in which they must face poverty(CEPAL, 1999). The liberalization of the market in landis marked by a paradox, as it favors land ownership bywomen, yet their ability to purchase is limited by lack ofincome. As a result, LAC is the region with the most unequalland distribution in the world. More than 30% of the ruralpoor in Latin America and the Caribbean are landless. Accordingto studies, more than half of the households withlittle or no land live in extreme poverty. By way of contrast,only 10% of farmers with more than three ha of land arein a similar situation of poverty. Many other studies haveconfirmed that the reduction in or loss of access to the landleads directly to a loss of income and access to food (CLA-DEHL, 2002).As a result of the great inequity in the distribution ofland, the region is the home to many social movementsthat advocate the rights of the landless. These include theMovimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (MST) in Brazil,which is considered the largest social movement in theregion, bringing together approximately 1.5 million landlesspersons in 23 of Brazil’s 27 states (Wolford, 2003) (seeBox 1-1).1.5.2.3 Food security and food sovereigntyFood insecurity is associated with social vulnerabilityand difficulty in accessing food, the origin of which is tobe found in the asymmetries of development. A situationof food insecurity is reached when one does not have themeans to obtain sufficient food, and is associated with poverty(Torres, 2003).There are many different definitions of food security.In 1996 Maxwell drew up a list of 32 possible definitions(Runge et al., 2003). Nonetheless, two main considerationsshould be taken into account: (1) the internal capacity toincrease production in the different categories of demandand (2) the country’s financial possibilities for completing itsfood supplies (Torres, 2003). In effect, in the first, emphasisis placed on what could be called food self-sufficiency andin the second, priority is accorded to food purchases basedon comparative advantages. The following present variousperspectives of the debate.The United Nations Development Program (UNDP)mentions that four criteria should be adopted: (1) copingwith stress and shock; (2) economic efficiency; (3) socialequity; and (4) ecological integrity. It emphasizes that thepolicy changes are not always those needed and that capacity-buildingis essential at the local level (Hall, 1998). Basedon this concept of food security, the city of Belo Horizontein Brazil developed a food security program that has beenrecognized internationally (see Box 1-2).For the FAO food security exists when all people havematerial and economic access at all times to sufficient safeand nutritious foods to satisfy their food needs and foodpreferences so as to lead an active and healthy life. In 1994,the Special Program for Food Security (SPFS) 3 was begun(FAO, 2006b). In 1996, more than 180 nations participatedin World Food Summit and undertook to reduce by half thenumber of undernourished people by the year 2015.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)argues that food security for a family means access for all itsmembers to sufficient food to be able to lead an active andhealthy life. Food security includes, at a minimum: (1) theavailability of adequate and safe foods and (2) the assuredcapacity to acquire goods by socially acceptable means.Within the free-market paradigm of the WTO, food securityhas been given a different definition; it went frommeaning the capacity of developing countries to producefood for their own consumption, to meaning merely accessto cheap food, supplied by the developed countries or by theagroindustrial sector (Glipo, 2003). By way of contrast, theconcept of food sovereignty was developed by Vía Campesina4 as an alternative to neoliberal policies and was broughtinto the public debate at the World Food Summit in 1996.Since then, that concept has become a major topic of theinternational agrarian debate, including in the United Nationsbodies. Food sovereignty was the main topic of theNGO forum held parallel to the FAO’s World Food Summitin June 2002 (Vía Campesina, 1996; Desmarais, 2002).Vía Campesina defines food sovereignty as the right ofthe peoples, their countries, or unions of states to definetheir own agrarian and food policy, without dumping withrespect to third countries.The concept includes prioritizing local agriculturalproduction to feed the population and access for peasantsand the landless to land, water, seed and credit. Hence, theneed for agrarian reform and the struggle against GMOs(genetically modified organisms), for free access to seedsand to preserve water as a public good that is distributed3In 1994, two years before the 1996 World Food Summit,FAO implemented the SPFS as the main program for helpingits developing member states reduce hunger and malnutrition.The premise on which the design of the SPFS is based isthat the productivity of small farmers in developing countriescould increase considerably by introducing relatively simple,economic and sustainable technological changes (FAO, http://www.fao.org/SPFS/index_es.asp). As a result of the 1996summit, the Rome Declaration on World Food Security wasissued, with seven commitments that the participating governmentswould implement to enhance food security.4Vía Campesina is a global movement that brings togetherorganizations of peasants, small and medium producers, ruralwomen, agricultural workers and indigenous communities inAsia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.


18 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportBox 1-1. The MST and land tenure in BrazilSince the early 1980s more than one million people in Brazil havetransformed their lives by gaining access to land. This has beenpossible thanks to a strategy of organizing and peaceful protestthat has forced the government to redistribute more than eightmillion ha of cropland to some 350,000 families and help themdevelop new ways of life. These families belong to what many callthe largest social movement in Latin America and the Caribbean,the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST: Movimento dosTrabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra).The MST’s strategy is based on forcing the government to enforcethe law. For almost five centuries Brazil has been plagued bymajor economic inequality, in particular with respect to land tenure.Large estate owners have controlled vast rural areas with impunity,in some cases by falsifying documents and in others by recourse toviolence (see figure). Much of this land is not used efficiently and hasresulted in stagnant development in rural areas. To combat thisproblem, since the early 19th century successive governmentspromoted the idea that to claim legal title to property, an ownermust show that the land is serving a “social function.” Today thisconcept has been incorporated into the Brazilian Constitution.Brazil is an emerging economy, and also the eighth largest economyin the world. Nonetheless, most Brazilians live in poverty. It hasthe most stark economic inequality in the world, as well as very unequalland distribution (the Gini coefficient for land distribution was0.85 in 1994). For example, 3% of the landowners hold two-thirds ofthe country’s arable lands. The highest levels of poverty and illiteracyare in rural areas, where the main problem is land tenure.The MST has 1.5 million members in 23 of Brazil’s 27 states.Today, there are 2,000 MST settlements and more than 80,000 additionalpeople are currently living in camps awaiting governmentrecognition. Cooperative farms, houses, schools for children andadults, and clinics have been built in these settlements.According to the MST, its success is based on its ability to organizeand educate. The members gain access to land, and thereforeto food security for their families; in addition, many of them continueto participate in the design of a sustainable socioeconomic developmentmodel that offers specific alternatives to the model of neoliberalglobalization. Some of the results of the organizational efforts ofthe MST with respect to production and marketing include:• 400 associations of small-scale producers in the areas of production,marketing, and services. These include:— 49 farming and ranching cooperatives— 32 service cooperatives— 2 regional cooperatives for marketing— 3 credit unions• 96 small- and medium-scale cooperatives for processing fruits,vegetables, dairy products, coffee, cereal grains, meat, and sugar.• 160,000 children are studying in grades 1 through 4 in publicschools located in MST settlements• 3,900 educators paid by the local (municipal) governmentsare developing teaching methods specifically tailored to theMST’s rural schools• In collaboration with UNESCO and some 50 universities, theMST is developing literacy programs for some 19,000 adolescentsand adults in the settlements• In collaboration with several Brazilian universities, training isbeing provided to teachers, administrators of settlements andcooperatives, and nurses• In collaboration with the government of Cuba, 48 members ofthe MST are studying medicine in CubaThe MST is also promoting sustainable development. For example:• In 1999, members of the MST developed Bionatur seeds fororganic production.• Several settlements are involved in the production of medicinalplants.• In Pontal do Paranepanema, families from the settlements worktogether with environmental organizations to conserve the forest.The MST is not free of controversy. Its critics assert that the membersare mainly people from cities who ended up in worse living conditionsthan the urban areas they left. It is also argued that the establishmentof settlements in the Amazon region has contributed to deforestation.Nonetheless, a recent survey (cited by The Economist, 2007) revealedthat 94% of those living in settlements have prior agricultural experience,and 79% stated that their lives had improved as a result ofhaving obtained land and joining the MST. The MST argues that itsactivities in the Amazon region are mainly in areas already deforested,particularly relatively unproductive cattle ranches.Independent of the controversy that surrounds the MST, onecannot question the impact that this social movement has had inBrazil, or its influence on the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean.The successes and failures of this massive movement mayserve as an example for the governments and social movementsof the other countries of the region as they seek to solve the problemsassociated with the stark inequalities in land tenure in LAC.These economic enterprises of the MST generate employmentand salaries that directly or indirectly benefit 700 small towns inthe Brazilian interior.The leaders of the MST argue that production cannot be consideredin isolation from education; accordingly, many of its programsare geared to educating its members. Results of the MST’sorganizing efforts with respect to education include:


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 19Box 1-2. Belo Horizonte: Regional food security supporting rural sustainabilityIn the southeast of Brazil, a few hundred km from the major citiesof São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the municipal governmentof Belo Horizonte has presided over sustained improvements innutrition and food security for its 3 million citizens for over a decade.Created in 1993, the Adjunct Municipal Secretariat of FoodSecurity has developed programs which promote food securitywithin the city, and which show promise as a model for improvingrural livelihoods. Over the 13 years of the Secretariat’s existence,millions of citizens have participated in their programs,thousands of jobs have been created, and consumption of fruitsand vegetables has increased in the greater municipal area whileit has decreased in other major Brazilian metropolises, and infantmortality, often attributable in large part to malnutrition, has fallenby over 41%. Indeed, the United Nations has declared Belo Horizontea “model city” for progress that meets and in many casesexceeds the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (Diário Oficialdo Município, Belo Horizonte, Ano XII, Nº: 2.578, 04/01/2006).Belo Horizonte, the capital of Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, initiatedits city-wide food security program in 1993 under the leadershipof its then Mayor at the time, Workers’ Party member PatrusAnanias de Souza. Following a period of high public attention toproblems of hunger, poverty and nutrition in Brazil, Ananias heldcoordinating meetings between community leaders and professionalsin health, education, nutrition and social assistance tocreate a new government office to comprehensively administerall of the city’s food security-related programs. This new office,the Secretariat of Food Security “Supply” (Secretaria MunicipalAdjunta de Abastecimento [SMAAB]), developed new programsand redesigned and improved old ones. In cooperation with theSecretariat of Social Assistance and with aid from the Federalgovernment, it reinvigorated a decades-old Brazilian institution,the Popular Restaurant. Today, with 2 main facilities and severalsmaller “lunchrooms,” the Popular Restaurant program servesover 12,000 meals each day, primarily lunches—traditionally thelargest meal for Brazilians. The menus are prepared from freshingredients and planned by both local chefs and nutritionists.Each 1,000 calorie-plus lunch consists of rice, beans, a meat orvegetarian option, and salad or fruit, and costs the consumer oneBrazilian Real (R$1 = US$0.47). (The small breakfasts and dinnersat the Restaurants are R$0.25 and R$0.50, respectively.) Tomaintain the low cost of the meals, which is meant to promote“food with dignity,” the federal and municipal governments subsidizethe program to cover staff, training, and equipment coststhat exceed the Restaurants’ incomes. The popular high-quality,low-cost meals draw a mixed clientele: approximately 86.4% ofthose who eat at the restaurants are low and very-low incomecitizens (earning up to ~US$10,000/yr, with 34.9% of all patronsearning below US$4,000/yr), but the rest of the patrons are a mixof students and professionals from the middle- and upper-middleclasses, meaning that there is little or none of the social stigmasometimes associated with assistance programs.Like the Popular Restaurant program, the School Meals programserves meals made from fresh ingredients to all the 157,000children in the municipal school system. Also subsidized by thefederal government, the School Meals provide at least 15% of thedaily nutritional requirements of the children in schools (Brazilianschoolchildren only attend school for half the day). Younger childrenwho attend private daycares that partner with the city receive100% of their daily nutritional requirements, and programs areunderway to supplement the meals of older public schoolchildrenfor whom the School Lunch may be their only or primary meal.This program and the Popular Restaurants require a significantamount of food each day, especially vegetables—of which nearly100% is provided by local farmers. Local, small and family-ownedfarms in Greater Belo Horizonte are primarily vegetable producers,and in cooperation with 5 municipalities in the area, SMAABbuys as much produce as possible from associations of suchfarms. This avoids sales through third-party intermediaries; thecity receives a lower price while the small-scale farmers receivea higher income. This tactic has the added benefit of promotingrural social sustainability—especially important in a country thatsaw poverty and social policy push it from approximately 60% ruralto 80% urban in the past 50 years. In interviews with several ofthe approximately 40 partner farmers, they consistently note thatsince joining the SMAAB program, they have seen an increase inthe amount as well as the reliability of income.In addition to selling directly to the city, the SMAAB partnerfarms (less than 10 ha in size) have the opportunity to participatein the “Direct from the Countryside” program. In this program,farmers are granted sales spaces throughout the city of BeloHorizonte, usually close to major thoroughfares and other highlyfrequented areas. Many farmers supply the Restaurants, SchoolMeals, and other SMAAB programs, but others participate onlyin Direct from the Countryside or the Organic Fairs throughoutthe city, which have the same dual purposes of supporting localproduction and encouraging direct interaction between theconsumers and the farmers. Such interactions have proven veryvaluable in other programs more familiar in the global North, suchas CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture groups).Various gains have already been realized under the Secretariat,including the astonishing decrease in infant mortality between1993 and 2006 from 34.4 deaths per 1,000 live births to approximately3 deaths per 1,000 live births—an achievement thatsurpasses the UN Millennium Development goal. This dramaticreduction has been due in no small part to cooperation with theMunicipal Secretariats of Health and Social Assistance, workingwith their professionals and clinicians to identify at-risk childrenand families, and to supplement the diets of expecting and nursingmothers at little or no cost to the families. The distribution ofenriched flour—wheat plus manioc, pulverized egg shells, andseeds—has been key to improving the diets of expectant andrecent mothers and their young children.Another thrust of SMAAB, and key in terms of institutionalgrowth and sustainability, is the high importance it places oneducation for adult consumers and children, through school programs,community shows, average and lowest food price lists forcontinued


20 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportBox 1-2. continuedconsumers, workshops, cooking classes and more. These activitiespromote citizen ownership of the basic human right tofood security (guaranteed under the UN Charter, among otherinternational agreements) and to teach fundamental principlesof nutrition to those who might not otherwise have received it.This is an especially important component in a world climatewhere increasing wealth is leading to obesity and nutrientpoor,high calorie diets in not just the global North, but alsoin other countries that are simultaneously dealing with persistentunder- and mal-nutrition among their populations.It’s important to note that these are only some of the mostprominent programs, and that all of the food security secretariat’sprograms in Belo Horizonte comprise less than 2%of the city’s annual budget, at approximately US$7 milliondollars per year—and even given the current level of success,there is ample opportunity to expand the comprehensivenessand size of the programs. Although SMAAB’s successes arenot to be taken as a direct blueprint for cities the world over,one can draw at the very least cautious hope from their example:a municipal government program cooperating acrosstraditional health/nutrition and city/countryside boundaries,while supporting local and organic food, small-scale farmers,addressing childhood and adult malnutrition and hunger,access to food, and nutritional education, under a modestbudget in a large city in the global South. From this example,we must be open to the wondrous idea that food securityand small, family-farmer based rural sustainability may bemutually reinforcing, given sufficient and appropriate effortsacross the many traditional borders we find between the twoprinciples.equitably and sustainably (Vía Campesina, 2003). The conceptof food sovereignty has come about as a reaction tothe definition of food security, which promotes the notionthat everyone should have food, but doesn’t specify where itwill come from, or who will produce it, allowing control offood by large multinational companies, which may contributeto creating more dependency, poverty and marginalization.Vía Campesina also supports the concept of food as aright (see Box 1-3). The concept of food sovereignty placesemphasis on local autonomy, local markets and communityaction. It is a process of popular resistance in the context ofsocial movements (Grain, 2005; Niéleny, 2007).The local space is accorded first priority because it isthere that sovereignty takes on its essential meaning. It isin the spaces where the local communities create autonomybased on their own needs, beliefs and time frames. They arethe custodians of thousands of years of research and creation,as a result of which their agriculture is based on biodiversity,in contrast to industrial agriculture, which fostersmonoculture and only develops certain species, which areoften not those grown and consumed by the local popula-tions (Grain, 2005). Food sovereignty has a broader dimension,since it incorporates issues such as agrarian reform,territorial control, local markets, biodiversity, autonomy,cooperation, debt and health, all of which have to do withlocal food production. Advocates of the concept of foodsovereignty argue that to attain a world without hunger onemust place the communities center stage (Grain, 2005).The Pesticide Action Network-Latin America (RAP-AL,2007) adds that food sovereignty also has to do with the agriculturalproduction system, since agriculture that dependson imported seed and chemical inputs does not allow forfood sovereignty. This is why they support agroecologicalalternatives.For civil society, food sovereignty, as a different paradigm,is needed to ensure that the developing countries canattain food security, rural employment and the goals of sustainabledevelopment. For the developing countries, foodsovereignty encompasses the demand that the World TradeOrganization (WTO) put an end to its control over food andagriculture. Food sovereignty basically recognizes that smallfarmers and landless peasants will never be able to competein the entrepreneurial agricultural paradigm (Desmarais,2002; Glipo, 2003; Rosset, 2006).To the extent that food sovereignty incorporates fundamentalaspects of economic equity, agrarian reform, women’srights and the rights of small farmers, it has becomea broader platform for those seeking fundamental changesin the national and world order (Glipo, 2003) and representsthe paradigm that is an alternative to market fundamentalism.1.5.3 Economic contextIt is generally accepted that economic growth can contributeto fighting poverty (Adelman and Morris, 1973; Dollarand Kraay, 2000). World Bank reports (2006a) indicatethat for every 1% of economic growth, poverty declines by1.25%. Nonetheless, in Latin America and the Caribbean,economic growth has not been accompanied by a significantand lasting reduction in poverty and inequality (Fajnzylber,1990; Korzeniewicz and Smith, 2000). At the sametime, poverty has a negative and very significant effect oneconomic growth. On average, a 10% increase in povertyreduces annual growth 1% (World Bank, 2006a).As mentioned above, Latin America and the Caribbeanis the region with the highest levels of inequality inthe world (Ferranti et al., 2004). The wealthiest 10% of thepopulation receives 48% of total income, while the poorest10% receives only 1.6%. In the industrialized countries,the wealthiest 10% receives 29.1% of the income, while thepoorest 10% receives 2.5%.A comparison among regions within countries revealsstark differences in levels of prosperity. In 2000, the percapita income of the poorest district in Brazil was only 10%that of the wealthiest district; in the case of Mexico, percapita income in Chiapas was only 18% of per capita incomein Mexico City. Regional differences account for morethan 20% of inequality in Paraguay and Peru and more than10% in the Dominican Republic and the Bolivarian Republicof Venezuela. In Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguayand Peru, the differences in the levels of poverty betweendifferent regions is more than 40%.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 21Box 1-3. Food as a Human RightThe Millennium Development Goals include cutting worldhunger by half by the year 2015. In the document “The MillenniumDevelopment Goals: A Latin American and CaribbeanPerspective,” the section on eradicating hunger in the regionemphasizes food as a human right (UNDP, 2005a). This right isrecognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Socialand Cultural Rights, which entered into force on January 3,1976, and to which almost all the countries of Latin Americaand the Caribbean are signatories.Article 11 of the Covenant establishes as follows:1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognizethe right of everyone to an adequate standard ofliving for himself and his family, including adequate food,clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvementof living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriatesteps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizingto this effect the essential importance of international cooperationbased on free consent.2. The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizingthe fundamental right of everyone to be freefrom hunger, shall take, individually and through internationalco-operation, the measures, including specific programmes,which are needed:(a) To improve methods of production, conservationand distribution of food by making full use of technicaland scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledgeof the principles of nutrition and by developing or reformingagrarian systems in such a way as to achievethe most efficient development and utilization of naturalresources;(b) Taking into account the problems of both foodimportingand food-exporting countries, to ensure anequitable distribution of world food supplies in relationto need.”Today, the following countries of Latin America and the Caribbeanare signatories to the Covenant: Antigua and Barbuda,Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia,Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica,Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad andTobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.The impact of neoliberal globalization on the economyof Latin America and the Caribbean is a very controversialissue. On the one hand, some analysts argue that marketorientedreforms will eventually lead to economically sustainablegrowth, greater equity and a better standard ofliving for the population (Lustig, 1995; Sadoulet and DeJanvry, 1995; Lederman et al., 2003). Nonetheless, othersargue that globalization is worsening the lives of millionsof Latin Americans. The statistics show that although in the1990s (the decade of structural adjustment programs andneoliberalization) there was moderate economic growth, thenumber of poor by the mid-1990s was 210 million, i.e., 50million more than the average throughout the “lost decade”of the 1980s (CEPAL, 1997; Londoño and Szekeley, 1997).On the other hand, the modest increase in economic growthhas not decreased inequity in the region, which, for mostcountries, is still greater than prior to the 1980s (Birdsalland Londoño, 1997; Korzeniewicz and Smith, 2000).More than an economic model, neoliberalism has beendescribed as a mode of domination on a national and worldwidescale that stems from the restructuring of capitalist relations(Aguirre Rojas, 2005; Gilly, 2005). In the rural sector,the effects have been favorable for those who were alreadyeconomically well off, but devastating for the most dispossessed;it has resulted in greater inequality and the continuationof poverty. These inequalities are expressed both amongcountries and among sectors within each country (Conroyet al., 1996; UNDP, 1999; Stiglitz, 2003). For example, theeconomic situation that the countries of the Caribbean arefacing today, especially in the Lesser Antilles, is critical. Theloss of the preferential treatment that had been accordedcertain products of the Antilles by the European Union andwhich was designed to provide economic support to the formercolonies will have a devastating impact on these Caribbeancountries. The European Union, pressured by theWorld Trade Organization, will reduce the preferential priceit pays for Caribbean sugar (Theodore, 2005).In contrast with the neoliberal policies, centrist andcenter-left governments are drawing up proposals thatpoint to an alternative path of inter-American economiccooperation. For example, the foreign ministers of the Caribbeancountries have begun to draw up trade agreementswith Mercosur and support the trade initiatives proposedby Brazil, which include technical assistance and cooperationprograms in agriculture. Brazil has also offered theCaribbean countries generic drugs to fight AIDS. This is animportant step, as the Caribbean is the region with the highestincidence of AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, thePetro-Caribe agreement was signed between 13 Caribbeannations and Venezuela for obtaining Venezuelan oil. In addition,regional integration initiatives have taken place such asthe “Caribbean Single Market” and the second CARICOM-Cuba meeting (Theodore, 2005).Some countries of LAC are also putting up resistance tothe negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).At the WTO meeting in Cancún, Mexico, in 2003, the resistanceof a coalition of Third World countries, includingBrazil, Argentina and Jamaica, brought about the collapseof the negotiations. The main demands of this coalition hadto do with the exclusion of agriculture from free trade agreements(Narlikar and Tussie, 2004; Rosset, 2006).Finally, in the economic context one cannot ignore therole of family remittances. The flow of money in the formof remittances has become a major source of financing formany countries of LAC. In the last 10 years the growth inremittances has surpassed the growth of private capital investmentand development assistance (Acosta et al., 2007).Although this is a trend worldwide, LAC is the region with


22 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportthe greatest volume of remittances in the world, with a flowof US$40 billion in 2004 and 27% of all remittances to nonindustrializedcountries (Acosta et al., 2007). In part, due toremittances many countries in Central America and the Caribbeanhave been transformed from agroexport economiesto labor-exporting economies (Orozco, 2002). The volumeof family remittances in LAC began to grow in the 1980sand that trend continues and is even more accentuated today.For example, remittances received in Mexico increasedfrom US$1 billion in 1980, to US$3 billion in 1990, to US$6billion in 2000 and by 2004 reached US$18 billion (Orozco,2002; Acosta et al., 2007). For Haiti, in 2004 family remittancesaccounted for more than 50% of GDP and forJamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic,Nicaragua and Guatemala, they accounted for 15 to 20% ofGDP (Figure 1-5). In El Salvador, remittances occasionallyexceed the total value of exports and in Nicaragua and theDominican Republic they represent more than half of thevalue of exports (Orozco, 2002). In some countries of LAC,remittances have become a major source of support for thecommunities. Although very little is known about the impactof remittances on poverty, a recent study suggests thatremittances contribute to economic growth of the regionand to diminishing inequalities (Acosta et al., 2007).1.5.4 Political contextIn LAC, the 1980s saw the fall of the last military dictatorshipsand a process of democratization unfolded which,albeit with many shortcomings, provided a political openingto the most excluded sectors. In addition, in the region(with the exception of Cuba), neoliberal reforms have generateda mix of dispossessed, displaced, informal workersand migrant workers forced to survive and adapt to a newreality of unemployment or underemployment, vulnerability,precarious living conditions and hunger. The masses ofdispossessed, in both the countryside and cities of LAC, areorganizing new social movements that are challenging theneoliberal regimes (Aguirre Rojas, 2005). This new formof populism is expressed in the form of broad social movementsthat are beginning to have a major political impact inthe region (Gilly, 2005; Dussel, 2007). For example, there isno doubt that the rise of the Zapatista movement in Mexicoplayed a part in the defeat of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional(PRI), which had been in power for 79 years. InBolivia, the indigenous movements brought an indigenouscandidate to the presidency. These social-political movementswithout political party affiliations are changing thepolitical landscape of the region and turning Latin Americato the left.These movements are advocating internal changes thatare important in the context of this evaluation, althoughthey do not yet have the political strength that would enablethem to bring about substantial changes. Among themost important issues are: (1) recognition of the rights ofindigenous nations and the growing role that indigenousorganizations are playing in national politics; (2) demandsfor agrarian reform, especially land redistribution;(3) demands relating to access to and control and sustainablemanagement of natural resources, including miningand energy resources and water; and (4) the insertion ofthe concept of food sovereignty in the national and internationaldebate.In Latin America, indigenous peoples live inside andoutside protected areas, in tropical forests and in intertropicalrural areas. Most live in marginal rural areas (Toledo,2001). Their communities, territories/lands and natural resourcescontinue to be subject to several pressures as well asa growing demand on the part of forces internal and externalto their local communities (Kearney, 1996). This situationsuggests, significantly, that the contemporary neoliberalpolicies of the nation-states of the region and the respectivedemocratic regimes, among other things, (1) have not put inplace or facilitated clear and coherent policies, institutionsand spaces for the participation of the indigenous peoples inrural/agrarian development and in the economy and society;and (2) have not supported, in a sustained and significantfashion, the strengthening of indigenous institutions, leadersand wise people. All of this has continued perpetuating themarginalization and oppression of the region’s indigenouspeoples. Nonetheless, as mentioned above, the indigenousmovements have strengthened significantly, becoming animportant political force in some of the countries with thelargest indigenous populations, such as Bolivia, Peru, Mexico,Guatemala and Ecuador (Varese, 1996; Warren andJackson, 2003; Yashar, 2005).1.5.5 Environmental context1.5.5.1 General aspects of the environmental contextLatin America and the Caribbean is well known for its extraordinarybiodiversity, containing five of the ten countriesin the world with the highest biodiversity (Dixon et al.,2001); it has 40% of the world’s plant and animal species(UNEP, 1999a). It is considered the world’s leader in floristicdiversity (Heywood and Watson, 1995) and in aviandiversity (UNEP, 2006). While 11% of the terrestrial areaof Latin America is officially under protected status (WorldBank, 2006b), many protected areas exist on paper onlyand consequently much of the area’s biodiversity is highlythreatened. Almost half of the ecoregions of Latin Americaand the Caribbean (82 of 178) are considered critical orendangered in conservation status (Dinerstein et al., 1995).Some 873 vertebrate species in Latin America are currentlyestimated to be threatened with extinction and six of thetwelve countries with the highest number of globally threatenedbird species are found in the region (UNEP, 2002b).Unfortunately, there is little data on the extent to which arthropodspecies are threatened.The Latin American region possesses 28% of the world’sforest area, almost a billion ha in total (World Bank, 2005a);it contains the vast majority (68%) of the world’s tropicalrain forests (UNEP, 2005b). Deforestation has acceleratedprecipitously since 1950. It has been primarily caused byagriculture (MA, 2005a) and cattle, and more recently soybeanproduction has been one of the major drivers for theregion as a whole (Ledec, 1992; Angelsen and Kaimowitz,2001). The overall annual deforestation rate from 2000to 2005 in the region is estimated at 0.51% (World Bank,2005a), but there is considerable variation across the region(Table 1-6). Historically the highest absolute amount


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 23% of GDPUS$ MillionsFigure 1-5. International remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean, 2004. Source: Acosta et al., 2007of deforestation has occurred in South America, drivenby deforestation in the Amazon; from 1981 to 1990, 6.2million ha were stripped of forest annually in South America.However, since 2004 deforestation in the Brazilian Amazonfell by 60% due to stepped up enforcement efforts (Presidenciada República [Brazil], 2007) and lower commodityprices, namely beef and soybean and the strong Braziliancurrency, which has lowered the level of land speculation(Butler, 2007). However, the growing demand for corn ethanolmeans that less soybean is being planted in the UnitedStates and Brazil, the biggest producer of soybean in theworld, is making up the shortfall by clearing new land forsoybean cultivation. Whether it will result in an increasein deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon or the cerradoremains to be seen (Butler, 2007). Soybean expansionhas also affected forests in Argentina, where the rates ofdeforestation have increased dramatically in the last decade(Grau et al., 2005). Nevertheless, the highest rates of deforestationhave consistently been found in Central Americaand Mexico, where deforestation in the same period reached1.5% annually, compared to 0.7% in South America. In theCaribbean, most deforestation occurred in the 1800s andwith a few exceptions (particularly the Dominican Republic),most primary moist forest suitable for agriculture hadalready been converted prior to the middle of the last century(Myers, 1980; Toledo, 1992). In the last decade of the20 th century, the rate of deforestation slowed throughout theregion, but this slowdown was marked in South America (to0.44% annually) and barely registered in Central Americaand Mexico, which still racked up 1.47% annual deforestationin that period. During this decade, forest area actuallygrew in the Caribbean (at 0.1% annually), driven bya rise in forested area in Cuba. It is notable that both theabsolute and relative rates of deforestation in Latin Americaand the Caribbean during the 1980s were much higher thanany other region of the world, but by the 1990s Africa hadsurpassed Latin America in both hectares cleared and annualdeforestation rates (Barbier, 2004).Latin America and the Caribbean are considered tohave the most diverse freshwater ecosystems in the world.The region is home to one-quarter of the world’s species offish, with areas of high endemism. The Amazon in particularis noted for high freshwater fish biodiversity and tropicalSouth America in general is a hotspot for amphibian diversity.The Caribbean and Central America are noted for theiroutstanding coral reefs. The Mesoamerican Reef, off the


24 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 1-6. Extent and change of forest area in Latin America.SubregionArea(1,000 ha)Annual change(1,000 ha)Annual change rate (%)1990 2000 2005 1990-2000 2000-2005 1990-2000 2000-2005Caribbean 5,350 5,706 5,974 36 54 0.65 0.92Central27,639 23,837 22,411 -380 -285 -1.47 -1.23AmericaSouth America 890,818 852,796 831,540 -3,802 -4,251 -0.44 -0.50Total LatinAmerican and 923,807 882,339 859,925 -4,147 -4,483 -0.46 -0.51the CaribbeanWorld 4,077,291 3,988,610 3,952,025 -8,868 -7,317 -0.22 -0.18Source: FAO, 2007.Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras,is the second longest barrier reef in the world and isone of the most diverse coral reefs in the western Atlantic.Home to over 500 fish species, 66 stony coral species andthe largest population of endangered manatees in CentralAmerica, the reef is also the basis of much of the region’seconomy (Kramer and Kramer, 2002).1.5.5.2 Climate change and agriculture in Latin Americaand the CaribbeanLAC is a very heterogeneous region in terms of climate,ecosystems and population distribution. Nonetheless, mostproductive activities are based on natural ecosystems andthis land use interacts in a complex way with climate. Dueto this complexity and the heterogeneity that characterizesthe region, it is difficult to identify the effects of and vulnerabilityto climate change.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC,2007), in its latest report, forecasts a change in temperatureof up to 5.8°C for this century. This climate change has thepotential to create local and regional conditions that includedeficits and surpluses of water in the same geographic location(Table 1-7). The potentially grave impacts that can beexpected, according to the IPCC, are a considerable increasein heat waves, storms, floods, landslides and avalanches unleashedby the forecast increases in the intensity of precipitationand the rising sea level. There may be health problemsin human beings, livestock and crops due to the greater incidenceof pests and insects that are vectors of disease.In addition, an increase is predicted in the sea level of upto 88 centimeters in this century, affecting (due to the intrusionof sea water in the soils subjacent to arable lands andalso due to temporary and permanent flooding) approximately30% of the agricultural regions worldwide. It is believed,in particular, that riparian and coastal settlementsare at risk, but urban floods may also be a serious problemfor water supply and for waste management systems thathave not been designed with sufficient capacity to preventthe spread of tropical diseases. The IPCC (1997, 2001a) hadalready identified the following sectors as those that will bemost affected by climate change in LAC: natural ecosystems(e.g., forests, wetlands, savannahs), water resources, coastalzones, agriculture and human health.Although LAC accounts for only 4% of global emissionsof greenhouse gases, the potential impacts of climatechange in the region may be considerable and very costly,in both economic and social terms. In addition, the carbonemissions that result from massive deforestation in LAChave the potential to alter the carbon balance globally.Most productive activities in LAC depend on the availabilityof water, such that any climate change that resultsin a shortening of the rainy season, greater variability ofprecipitation and/or greater frequency of years without rainwill have extremely negative consequences for the region(IPCC, 2001a). Mexico, in particular, will be very significantlyaffected by drier and hotter climatic conditions asit is already suffering from very little and highly variableprecipitation (Liverman and O’Brian, 1991). The BrazilianNortheast is another region highly vulnerable to droughtcaused by climate change. Under different climate changescenarios, global models project reductions of up to 53%in the yields in this region (Rosenzweig et al., 1993); it willbe common for there to be years in which it doesn’t rainand the population suffers hunger and is forced to migrate(Magalhães and Glantz, 1992).Another effect of climate change on the productive activitiesof the region has to do with the effects of the SouthernOscillations, El Niño. Although there is no consensuson the effect of climate change on the El Niño phenomenonin the long term, in the short term an increase is reportedin its frequency and intensity (IPCC, 2001a). In Centraland South America, the relationship between El Niño andchanges in precipitation is well-documented. El Niño is associatedwith massive fluctuations in the marine ecosystemsof the western coast of South America (Ecuador, Peru andChile), adversely affecting fishing and taking a devastatingsocioeconomic toll on the communities that depend on thisactivity (Pauly and Tsukayama, 1987; Sharp and McLain,1993). In 2001, El Niño caused severe droughts in CentralAmerica and northern South America, with damages estimatedat US$189 million, 66% of these in agriculture andaffecting 600,000 people in Central America, mostly small-


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 25Table 1-7. Current and future temperature and precipitation, selected LAC countries/regions.Country Temperature o C Precipitation mm/day annual averageCurrent(1961-1990)Future(2070-2099)South ConeCurrent(1961-1990)Future(2070-2099)Argentina 14.65 17.89 1.63 1.66Brazil: Amazon 26.04 30.38 5.97 5.84Brazil: Northeast 25.58 29.46 3.58 3.52Brazil: South 22.04 25.90 3.98 4.15Chile 9.01 11.91 1.52 1.43Andean ZoneColombia 24.31 27.81 7.25 7.44Ecuador 22.15 25.36 5.52 6.01Peru 19.52 23.34 4.22 4.42Venezuela 22.44 29.17 5.33 5.31OthersCentral America 24.23 27.76 6.51 6.18México 20.66 24.71 2.09 1.84Cuba 25.25 28.19 3.57 3.50Source: Cline, 2007.scale producers, who suffered due to the lack of food andwere forced to migrate (CEPAL, 2002).Hurricanes and tropical storms also have a devastatingeffect in the region. Central America and the Caribbeanare the regions hardest hit by these climatic events. In theseregions, 18 hurricanes and tropical storms were detectedfrom 1960 to 2001 (Cepredenac, 2007). Hurricane Mitch,in 1998, is considered the most devastating hurricane to hitthe Central American region (Pielke et al., 2003), causingtotal damages amounting to US$6 billion, half resultingfrom losses in agriculture (Ceprenedac, 2007).It has been said that carbon dioxide has a fertilizingeffect that could benefit agriculture, increasing crop yields.Nonetheless, studies in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay,based on climate change models and crop models,predict reductions in the yields of several crops (e.g., maize,potato, soybean and wheat), even taking into considerationfertilization with carbon dioxide and moderate adaptationsby producers (IPCC, 2001a).The projected climate changes may also have a negativeimpact on productive activities through their effect onhuman health. For example, the projected increase in temperatureand precipitation could expand the range of vectortransmitteddiseases (e.g., malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis,Chagas’ disease) and infectious diseases (e.g., cholera), makingit possible for them to become established to the south oftheir current range and at higher elevations (WHO, 1996).Box 1-4 illustrates the relationship between changes in agriculture(which are often governed by climate changes) andthe emergence of infectious diseases.The effects of the increase in the sea level include agreater risk of flooding in the coastal zones of Central America,South America and the Caribbean and the possible lossof land area. Although the loss in land area could representa small proportion of the national territory (except in theCaribbean), it may have a major impact in areas where largepopulations, tourist centers and infrastructure are located(e.g., ports) (IPCC, 2001b).The IPCC (2001b) concluded that the alterations resultingfrom climate change have a high potential to negativelyaffect the ways of life of subsistence farmers and pastoralistswho live in the high Andean planes and tropical andsubtropical forests. Despite the grave socioeconomic impactsassociated with climate change in the region, the governmentshave done very little to reduce the emissions ofgases that contribute to climate change, or to implementrisk management strategies and promote adaptive systemsto cushion the negative effects on productive activities inthe region. In Brazil, drought forecast systems have beenimplemented that have succeeded in reducing the negativeimpacts of droughts. There are also experiences in CentralAmerica involving the resistance of agroecological systemsto the impacts of tropical storms (Holt-Giménez, 2002;Box 1-5).1.5.6 Cultural contextLatin America and the Caribbean are characterized by threemajor cultural influences, the indigenous, the African andthe European (mainly Spanish and Portuguese). The word“agriculture” emphasizes the overarching role of culture inthis type of production. All the cultures, both those existingand those already lost, have affected the region’s productionsystems to a greater or lesser extent. Nonetheless, theagriculture practiced by most small-scale producers in the


26 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportregion is highly influenced by the indigenous and Afrodescendantcultures.The indigenous population of LAC accounts for about10% of the total (IDB, 2004; Hall and Patrinos, 2005).The ethnic and cultural diversity of indigenous groups inLatin America is estimated at more than 400 ethnic groups(Deruyttere, 1997) or 800 cultural groups (Toledo, 2007),the largest percentages being in Bolivia (70%), Guatemala(47%), Ecuador (38%) and Mexico (12%). One importantaspect of the relationship between agriculture and the culturesis the relationship between biodiversity and culturaldiversity. In LAC, cultural diversity is highly correlated withagrobiodiversity in general. The region has two centers oforigin of genetic diversity—in the territories that are todayMexico and Guatemala and Peru and Bolivia (Possey,1999). The lands/territories of the indigenous peoples intersect/overlapto a large extent with the areas recognizedas biologically megadiverse. The indigenous peoples live in80% of the region’s protected areas (Colchester and Gray,1998). In Central America the percentage increases to 85%(Oviedo, 1999). Toledo (2003) notes that nearly 60% ofthe areas in central and southern Mexico recommended forprotection are inhabited by indigenous peoples.Biodiversity constitutes an irreplaceable common patrimonyof humankind, the result of prolonged and ceaselessevolutionary processes, which is fundamental for socioeconomicdevelopment and for the very survival of humankind.The ethnic groups, Afrodescendant communities and peasantcommunities in LAC hold a large part of the culturalpatrimony represented in the systems of knowledge, innovationsand millenary practices of integral and sustainablemanagement in their territories associated with biodiversity(Barrera-Bassols and Toledo, 2005). Just as biodiversity isthreatened, the cultural integrity of ethnic groups is seriouslythreatened. Cultural erosion, the loss of land and theloss of control over their territories by these communitiesoccur with ever greater frequency and intensity, which nodoubt has a detrimental impact on the cultural patterns andappropriation of their traditional habitat.The Green Revolution transformed the traditional agriculturalculture. For thousands of years farmers, mainlywomen, have taken it upon themselves to select and saveseeds to create, literally, thousands of “local varieties” offood crops adapted to the conditions and preferences ofeach place. When the Green Revolution swept across thecountries of the south, the diversity that these farmers hadbeen caring for began to weaken. Local varieties can onlysurvive in interaction with people and disappear if not preservedand planted.The cultures of the indigenous peoples and Euro-Americansocieties and of the westernized/modernized societiesare immersed in two profoundly different ways of knowing(epistemologies), of being (ontologies) and of relating tothe world (cosmovision/world view). After more than threedecades of political struggles—local, regional, national andinternational—the indigenous peoples have become actorsknown on their own terms, without mediation, or mediators,in the political arena. Their rights, albeit very slowlyand still more on paper than in practice, are recognizedby the United Nations (Farmers’ Rights, Convention onBox 1-4. Emergence of infectious diseases andagricultureOne of the main threats to agricultural development internationallyis the emergence of diseases associated with thechanges in the environment necessary for agriculture (Wilson,2002). In Latin America and the Caribbean, the association ofagricultural activities with certain diseases has been relativelylittle studied in comparison with other regions such as Africaand Southeast Asia (Norris, 2004). The following are four examplesthat illustrate the importance of this association:1. Coffee and cutaneous leishmaniasis: Picking coffee increasesthe risk of infection by Leishmania parasites sinceit coincides with the maximum period of activity for theinsect vectors of the disease (Scorza et al., 1985).2. Irrigation and malaria: Densities of malaria vectors aremuch greater in irrigation canals than in bodies of waterwhose origin is not attributable to human activities (Zoppide Roa et al., 2002). The density of vectors that transmita disease tends to be linearly correlated with the risk ofacquiring the disease, which is why agricultural activityincreases the risk in two ways: by increasing the numberof mosquitoes, and spatially, by the proximity of irrigationcanals to centers of human settlement (Norris, 2004).3. Deforestation and malaria: Agricultural development canlead to increases in temperature that facilitate the developmentof parasites that cause malaria in the vectors,especially when natural forests are cut down to promoteagriculture (Lindblade et al., 2000). The rates of mosquitobites can be up to 278 times greater in highly deforestedareas as compared to natural forest areas (Vittor et al.,2006).4. Rural houses and Chagas’ disease: One of the fundamentalaspects in the epidemiology of Chagas’ diseaseis its association with rural dwellings in precarious conditions(Rabinovich et al., 1979). In general, the moreprecarious the conditions of the housing units (thatchedroof, clay walls) the greater the vector density and hencethe greater the likelihood of acquiring the disease (Rabinovich,1995).The four examples presented above show the need to incorporateknowledge of infectious diseases into agriculturalactivities. Knowledge may have an immediate impact on agriculturalpractices by diminishing activities that increase therisk of acquiring disease. For example, the incidence of cutaneousleishmaniasis can be reduced by changing the hoursduring which coffee is picked.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 27Box 1-5. Measuring farmers’ agroecological resistance to Hurricane Mitch in Central America. Source: Holt-Giménez,2002, 2006.A study using a participatory action research approach andsimple field techniques found significant differences in agroecologicalresistance between plots on conventional and sustainablefarms in Central America after Hurricane Mitch. On average, agroecologicalplots on sustainable farms had more topsoil, higherfield moisture, more vegetation, less erosion and lower economiclosses after the Hurricane than control plots on conventionalfarms. The differences in favor of these agroecological plotstended to increase with increasing levels of storm intensity, increasingslope and years under agroecological practices, thoughthe patterns of resistance suggested complex interactions andthresholds. For some indicators, agroecological resistance collapsedunder extreme stress.With the help of 40 NGOs and 99 farmer-technician teams, 1,743farmers measured key agroecological indicators on 1,804 plotspaired under the same topographical conditions. These paired observationscovered 360 communities of smallholders from southernNicaragua to eastern Guatemala. The broad geographical coveragetook into account the diversity of ecological conditions, a variety ofpractices common to sustainable agriculture in Central America,and moderate, high and extreme levels of hurricane impact. Thiscoverage, and the massive mobilization of farmer-technician fieldresearch teams, was made possible by the existence of a widespreadsmallholders’ network for sustainable agriculture called MovimientoCampesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer Movement).Comparatively higher levels of agroecological resistance arean indication of lower vulnerability and higher sustainability. However,the effectiveness of practices appears to be bounded bya combination of steep slopes, maintenance and design of soilconservation structures, and extremely high storm intensity.A number of methodological lessons were learned about thetradeoffs between participation and scientific rigor from the study.The ability to gather large amounts of data across wide areas hadadvantages, but it was learned that care must be taken to maintainthe process of scientific inquiry among groups, instead offocusing solely on protocol.After analyzing the results, agroecological and conventionalfarmers designed strategies for participatory, sustainable reconstructionand identified the factors driving and limiting the developmentof sustainable agriculture. They proposed policiesfor participatory sustainable reconstruction and sustainable agriculturaldevelopment. Participants presented their findings innational meetings to representatives from government and internationalNGOs, and later distributed them publicly. Although thestudy was influential in reconstruction activity in villages and programswhere MCAC is already present, it had negligible impacton national policies for reconstruction.The study concludes that while the Movimiento Campesino aCampesino has successfully advanced the technical and methodologicalaspects of sustainable agriculture, a policy ceiling iscurrently limiting the generalized spread of sustainable agricultureamong smallholders in Central America.Biological Diversity, International Labour Organization[ILO] Convention 169), by financial and development organizations(World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank,USAID, European Union) and by international conservationorganizations (World Wildlife Fund (WWF), WorldConservation Union (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy(TNC). A number of countries of the region have adoptedand ratified ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous andTribal Peoples, which could significantly benefit indigenouspeoples. Nonetheless, the states of the region, which aremembers of the United Nations, do not display a coherent,significant and clear will to implement, in practice, thisConvention.1.6 Recent Evolution and Current Situation ofAgriculture in LAC1.6.1 Importance of agriculture to Latin America andthe CaribbeanAgriculture is much more than simply the production of economicallyimportant goods. As a source of food for humanbeings and animals, fiber, materials for construction and forcrafts, oil and fuel, agriculture is vital for the cultures andcommunities that produce them and plays a critical role forthe goals of sustainable development and reducing povertyand inequality. Recently special emphasis has also beenplaced on the role of agriculture in providing environmentalservices such as mitigation of the effects of climate change,regulation of the water cycle, erosion control, maintenanceof habitats for wildlife and preservation of landscapesand places of religious importance. In this sense, agricultureis a multifunctional activity (Chaparro, 2000; Cahill,2001; Dobbs and Pretty, 2004; Brunstad et al., 2005). Thisdoesn’t mean that agriculture can simultaneously satisfyall these functions, since that depends on specific contextualcharacteristics. Nonetheless, these multiple functions ofagriculture should be taken into consideration, especially inthe context of development and sustainability goals.In the last 50 years agriculture has contributed only 10to 12% of GDP; it has been secondary to other productiveactivities. Nonetheless, agriculture still represents a keysector of the Latin American economy, as it accounts fora large part (30 to 40%) of the economically active population.In those countries that lack minerals and oil, agriculturerepresents the main source of exports and foreignexchange. Agriculture is a relatively more important part of


28 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportthe economy in the Central American countries than it is forLatin America generally. While agriculture only contributed8% of GDP in 1998 in Latin America overall (Dixon et al.,2001), in Central America in 2000 agriculture contributedfrom a low of 7% of GDP (in Panama) to a high of 36% (inNicaragua). The importance of agriculture as a generator offoreign exchange is even more significant. In 2000, agriculturalexports ranged from a low of 30.8% of total exportsof goods in Costa Rica, to a high in Belize of 69.4% of totalexports (Harvey et al., 2005). Finally, in most Latin Americancountries, agriculture represents a subsistence way oflife for millions of people, including indigenous communities(IPCC, 1996).Recent research has shown exhaustively that agriculturalactivities are diminishing in rural areas from the standpointof the number of people involved and the income generated,while non-agricultural activities are on the rise, in particularthose linked to the provision of services. For these reasons,the families that live in areas defined as rural are increasinglyabandoning exclusively agricultural activities to seekout other opportunities (Da Silva, 2004; Dirven, 2004).These phenomena are responsible in part for the migrationsfrom the countryside to the cities, but are not the sole cause.The expansion of the large transgenic monocultures in thecountries of the Southern Cone is transforming the agrarianstructure, increasing the concentration of land and themigration of peasants (Fearnside, 2001ab; Pengue, 2005).In addition, violence due to territorial interests are causingmassive forced displacement, as in Colombia and Ecuador.Parallel to this difficult context, fishing is also developing;it continues to be one of the key components of certainlocal economies in many places in Latin America, especiallythe Amazon region, both in terms of the value of productionand in terms of employment. Bernal and Agudelo (2006)cite figures from the FAO according to which there are morethan 38 million people directly engaged in fishing and fishfarming on a full- or part-time basis; and the developingcountries now provide 70% of the fish for human consumption.Marine fishing is also an important economic activityin LAC, generating employment and incomes; most ofthe fish offloaded is accounted for by the Southern Conecountries.The current status of agriculture in LAC, in terms ofproduction and productivity of goods and services in relationto expectations for attaining the millennium goals, isnot uniform across the region. The heterogeneity in levelsof agricultural knowledge is due in part to the effect of thestructural reforms carried out in the region. In the last 25years most of the countries of the region began or intensifiedtheir processes of adjustment and structural reforms, asa result of which they experienced major changes in theirstructure of production, productivity, competitiveness andin the profitability of various activities, including agriculture(David et al., 2001).It should be noted that it is practically impossible toestablish typologies of development models by country, asone finds the coexistence of very different and more complexsituations than in the rest of the economy, given themajor differences between and within the countries. Thedifferentiation of the growth model has occurred within thecountries, with repercussions both on the specially locateddynamic poles and on the type of activities and actors.1.6.2 Characteristics and trends in production in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean1.6.2.1 Available resourcesNatural resources. Agriculture produces unprocessed agrifoodproducts using natural resources (land, water, biodiversity)as one of the factors of production and the processmay involve “cultivation” (planting, aquaculture, stockraising,forestry) or “gathering” (hunting, fishing, forestry)(Dirven, 2004). The peoples of LAC live in a territory withabundant resources in terms of land, water and biodiversity(OSAL, 2005). The water and soil, key elements in agriculturalproduction, may or may not be considered renewableresources, depending on their degrees of cultural management.In any event, they constitute the main limitations andpotential for agriculture at this level (León, 2007).Land. Latin America and the Caribbean is the region withthe largest reserves of arable lands in the world. It is estimatedthat 30% of the territory in LAC has agriculturalpotential (Gómez and Gallopin, 1995). The region had 160million ha of land under annual and perennial crops in 1999and another 600 million ha dedicated to grazing and pasture(Dixon et al., 2001). Nonetheless, due to the mismanagementof the soils and to the use of marginal areas foragriculture, the region has approximately 300 million haof degraded agricultural area (FAO, 1998), while another80 million ha of arid lands are threatened with desertificationdue to overgrazing, overexploitation of the vegetationfor domestic uses, deforestation and the use of inappropriateirrigation methods. This represents more than 50% ofthe total agricultural area (including grazing areas) affectedby degradation. Erosion, acidification, loss of organic matter,compaction, impoverishment of nutrients, salinizationand soil contamination are a result of the intensification ofagriculture through the intensive use of agrochemicals, fertilizers,and pesticides, as well as the use of inappropriateirrigation technologies and agricultural machinery (see 1.7)(UNEP, 2006).Erosion is the main cause of land degradation in LACand affects 14% of the territory in South America and 26%in Mesoamerica (UNEP, 1999a). This problem is especiallyserious in steep areas such as the Andean region (central andnorthern), as well as the maize and bean zone of Mesoamerica.In these areas erosion is causing low levels of productionand is affecting the migration of small-scale producers to thecities or the agricultural frontier in forested areas, contributingto soil degradation there (FAO, 1998). This process isalso taking place in other steep areas such as the Chiapashighlands in Mexico (Richter, 2000).Nutrient attrition is another very serious problem thatresults from the intensification of agriculture and syntheticfertilizers. In South America nutrient attrition affects at least68 million ha (Scherr and Yadav, 1997). Nutrient attritionmay also be a consequence of deforestation in moist tropicalzones. The conversion of forest to cropland in these areashas brought about the loss of organic matter and has accel-


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 29erated erosion and the increase in the sediment load in riversand lakes (FAO, 1998).Chemical contamination of the soil and water, whichalso derives from the technologies of intensive agriculture,has been increasing in the last 30 years. Nitrification of thesoil and water is directly related to the use of chemical fertilizers(UNEP, 2006); in LAC the use of fertilizers increasedfrom less than one million tonnes in 1961 to more than 13million tonnes in 2003 (FAOSTAT, 2005).Water. In terms of water, the region has relatively favorableendowments compared to other areas in the developingworld. It has almost half of the world’s total renewablewater resources and some 90% of the land area fallsin the humid or sub-humid zones. While overall the regionis relatively wet, there are several areas where drylands predominate,principally in northern and central Mexico andthe coastal and inland valleys of Peru, Chile and WesternArgentina, Northeast Brazil and the Yucatan Peninsula andthe Gran Chaco area of Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.In total, drylands comprise some 15% of the region (FAO,1998). Natural grasslands or savannahs, many of which arerelatively dry, are found in much of Argentina, as well as incentral, western and southern Brazil, Uruguay and parts ofColombia, Venezuela and Guyana. Crops occupy around160 million ha of the region, while another 600 millionha are dedicated to pasture and grazing land (Dixon et al.,2001).Hydrobiological resources represent another componentof South America’s biodiversity, with approximately3,000 fish species. Nonetheless, very little is known of thebiological cycle of the fish species dependent on the watercycle and even less of the zooplankton and phytoplanktonof the continental and marine waters (Bernal and Agudelo,2006).Agrobiodiversity. Mesoamerica and the Andes are two majorcenters of origin of domesticated plants, many of whichare now of global importance. Maize and beans are the mostprominent of these, but the list also includes potatoes, sweetpotatoes, tomatoes, cassava, chili peppers, gourds, squashes,avocado, cotton and peanuts. Wild ancestors have beendiscovered for some of these crops, such as maize. There isalso significant genetic diversity across the region that hasbeen developed since the introduction of non-native cropssuch as banana and sugar cane. With a few exceptions, theregion’s agrobiodiversity is not well studied.Maize (Zea mays) is one of the most significant cropsthat originated in the Americas; it is now the most widelygrown crop in the world. Due to its ability to grow underhighly varied climatic conditions, it is grown in at least 164countries worldwide (Global Crop Diversity Trust, 2007).Mexico is the center of origin and the center of diversityfor maize, with more than 60 landraces and numerous localvarieties, as well as the wild relatives of maize, the teosintes.Mexico provides one of the earliest examples of deliberateconservation of wild crop relatives in situ; the existence ofteosinte was the primary reason for the creation of the Sierrade Manantlán Man and the Biosphere Reserve there in 1988(Iltis, 1994; Meilleur and Hodgkin, 2004).The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) appears to havebeen domesticated separately in Mesoamerica and in the Andeanregion. Wild gene pools are also concentrated in theseareas. Mesoamerican cultivars dominate global production;some 60% of beans produced throughout the world are ofMesoamerican origin. Common beans are the world’s mostimportant legume food crop and are particularly importantfor human nutrition because of the high protein content,which is roughly double that of most cereals (Beebe et al.,2000).Potato (Solanum tuberosum) was domesticated 7,000years ago around Lake Titicaca in the Andes (Spooner et al.,2005). Potato is the most important crop for the cultures inthe Andes, where over 100 varieties can be found growingwithin a single valley (Brush, 1992).Relatively few animals were domesticated in the newworld; only one, the turkey, has spread significantly beyondits native habitats in Mesoamerica and the present-dayUnited States. The llama and alpaca, domesticated in theAndes, still play an important role in Andean society, asdoes the guinea pig, domesticated for food. The Muscovyduck was also domesticated in South America. Wild relativesof some of these animals, particularly the wild turkeyand the vicuña, which is related to llamas and alpacas, arestill to be found in the areas where they were domesticated(Heiser, 1990).The agricultural genetic resources of the Latin Americanregion are enormous. As one of only a few places whereagriculture was independently invented and the center oforigin of many of the world’s major food crops, the area retainsnumerous landraces, local varieties and wild relativesof great importance to the future development of agricultureworldwide.Economic resources. As a result of the structural adjustmentprocesses in the context of globalization, changes havetaken place in the agricultural sector in LAC that have hada differential impact on the population in three ways: (1)changes in incomes as there have been changes in wages,employment levels and the prices of goods, especially essentialgoods, such as food items; (2) changes in the levelsand composition of public spending, especially social spending;and (3) changes in working conditions, such as typeof contracting, hours and social security. The changes haveincluded greater differentiation in the conditions of productionbetween small and large producers and there are feweragricultural jobs, with adverse results for many sectors dueto the increase in poverty and inequality in the rural world(Da Silva, 2004).Among the causes of the reduction in employment, DaSilva (2004) cites increases in labor productivity, relative stabilityof the agricultural frontier and the expansion of stockraisingand forestry, which do not require much labor. Othercategories that have been expanding (such as fruit crops,vegetable crops and poultry) are using ever more contractagriculture, which is based on more capital and also reducesemployment (Da Silva, 2004; Deere, 2005). According toseveral sources compiled by David et al. (2001), approximately66% of the poor who live in the rural sectors—47million people—are small-scale producers, 30% are landless


30 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportrural dwellers and the remaining 4% are indigenous groupsand others. Of the small-scale producers, at least 40% arefarmers with little if any access to loans, technical assistance,or agricultural support services and little capacity topurchase land.The financial sector plays a role in activities relatedto rural employment, favoring non-agricultural activities,which vary from country to country and depend on theties between non-agricultural rural employment and othersectors of economic activity. In an Inter-American DevelopmentBank (IDB) document on rural financing strategiescited by Da Silva (2004), it was recognized that the nonagriculturalrural sector is an increasingly important part ofthe rural economy and accounts for a growing part of ruralincome and rural employment. Most of the document posedthe need to develop financial services other than short-termloans so as to specifically increase productivity and the possibilitiesof expanding non-agricultural services and manufacturingand processing plants. The main conclusion of thedocument was that rural financial markets do not operateproperly in Latin America and the Caribbean and that theunderdevelopment of these financial markets has a negativeimpact on those investments that aim to bolster productivity,expand incomes and spur sectoral growth (Da Silva,2004).Technological resources. Agriculture today is experiencingmajor changes, leading to the rise of new scientific and technologicalparadigms, these are transforming the dynamicsof agricultural production. These can be grouped in threemajor areas: the new biotechnologies, sustainable developmentmodels and the new information and communicationtechnologies. The new biotechnologies are constituted bya set of techniques that operate at the subcellular level andmake it possible to directly manipulate the genetic characteristicsand process of reproduction of living beings. Themain ones are: in vitro tissue cultures; molecular markers;genetic engineering, by which transgenic crops are produced(mixing genetic matter of different species); monoclonal antibodies;and bioprocesses.These recent technological developments, especially inthe field of the new biotechnologies, have created conditionsthat favor the private appropriation of knowledge, giventheir complexity, requirements for multiplication and highrelative cost. This new situation has led to massive private investmentsin activities associated with the conservation, improvementand industrial production of biological resourcesand agricultural technologies, especially by transnationalcompanies involved in the production of agricultural inputs.This is leading to a radical change in the balance betweenthe public and private sectors. For example, 85% of currentglobal investment in agricultural biotechnology comes fromprivate interests. Two key controversial issues have arisen inthis new context, involving intellectual property and accessto genetic resources. The models of rural development inLAC have emphasized technological resources, which arecapital intensive. Historically this has been one of the problemsthat has plagued the Green Revolution. Nonetheless,not all technological resources have to be capital intensive(Chaparro, 2000).The second scientific and technological area includesalternative forms of agriculture, with proposals for ecologicalagriculture, or agroecological agriculture, as an integratedapproach focusing on the sustainable managementof the natural resource base (water, soil, biodiversity) anddistinguished from the agriculture of the Green Revolutionby its scientific, socioeconomic, political and cultural approach(León, 2007). Agroecology emphasizes technologythat is knowledge-intensive, low cost and easily adaptableby small-scale producers.Information and communication technologies constitutethe third scientific and technological area that is profoundlytransforming agriculture and giving rise to multipleapplications with a direct impact on agricultural productionand the management of natural resources. These area set of technologies related to the processing and disseminationof information and knowledge, using Internet tools,which are important in education and for the broad andswift dissemination of the processes of globalization and itseffects (Chaparro, 2000; Farah, 2004a; Farah and Pérez,2004).Labor. Worldwide, it is estimated that the urban populationis on the way to increasing from one-third of the world populationin 1975 to two-thirds in 2020. These high rates ofurbanization are changing the structure of demand for foodtowards the consumption of processed foods with some typeof value added, which fosters greater demand for non-agriculturallabor (Chaparro, 2000). As a result, agriculturalemployment dropped in almost half of the Latin Americancountries, while non-agricultural rural employment continuedto increase in all of them. According to data takenby CEPAL from Latin American censuses, non-agriculturalrural employment climbed during the 1970s and 1980s atan average of 4.3% annually, while the economically activepopulation in agriculture rose only 0.03% per year. Inthe 1990s, non-agricultural rural employment once againincreased appreciably (Dirven, 2004).The main type of non-agricultural rural employmentvaries across different income strata. Middle incomehouseholds work mainly in non-agricultural endeavors,high-income households are mainly self-employed in nonagriculturalrural activities or have small and medium enterprisesthat perform the same type of work, while mostpoor families perform agricultural wage labor that does notenable them to emerge from poverty and obtain some additionalnon-agricultural income from crafts or small-scalecommerce (Dirven, 2004).Working conditions (whether formal or informal; reproductive,productive, or community; remunerated or nonremunerated)have changed visibly with globalization andclearly reflect the inequalities and widening gap between richand poor. In the processes of internationalization, work isvalued on a purely mercantile basis, using the criterion thatvalue is to be found in those things that can be bought andsold, which can be assigned a monetary value. For women,especially rural women, a considerable part of their work isnot seen as economically productive, as it does not fit withinthe logic of the market, i.e., it takes place in the context ofan economy without wages or prices and its objective is to


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 31generate products and services for household consumption(Farah, 2004ab).The non-traditional agricultural export sector, favoredby neoliberalism, has opened up salaried employment opportunitiesmainly for women in the rural sector. Nonetheless,these jobs are often seasonal, poorly paid and performedin precarious conditions (Deere, 2005). In the greenhousesfor flowers and vegetables in Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexicoand Colombia, for example, labor is mostly female and thecontracts are short-term but renewed time and again. In Colombia,80% of the flower workers are women and theygenerally earn the minimum wage, which covers only 45%of a family’s basic needs. In Chile, Argentina and Brazil,women are contracted for seasonal positions in the productionof fruit for export. Thus, for example, the employmentof women in the fruit sector in Chile quadrupled from 1982to 1992 and was concentrated in temporary jobs, such that75% of women in the agricultural sector in Chile workunder temporary contracts, harvesting fruit more than 60hours a week during the harvest season. Of these women,one in three earns less than the minimum wage.Market Trends. Over the last 30 years, with the acceleratedpace at which the markets for Latin American products andmarkets worldwide, have been changing, the commercialformats of quotas and preferences have increasingly becomea thing of the past. As a result, markets are fully engaged ina process of transformation in the trade arrangements betweencountries and between regions and a collapse in tariffsand import duties has accompanied the elimination ofquotas and preferences, pointing towards more competitiveglobal markets with a prevalence of value-added, comparativeadvantages, quality goods and services, as well as safefoods, traceability and biosecurity.This transformation in the region, with tariff barriersbeing replaced by technical barriers, accords less importanceto the volume of production in relation to factors such asefficiency and productivity. This process of abrupt changein markets has resulted not only from geopolitical changesthat have produced an international dynamic in which themarket approach prevails, even among countries and regionsthat are not on the same wavelength politically, butalso from consumers themselves imposing conditions andrequirements. There is a growing trend among consumersin the region towards a more conscientious, intelligent anddifferentiated culture of consumption with respect to thefoods, cosmetics and medicinal products they consume, aswell as the services they demand.This change in the functional structure of markets hasresulted in a series of challenges and opportunities for LatinAmerican agriculture. Among these opportunities, mentioncan be made of the emergence of new market niches suchas the organic, ecologically-sound, ethnic and functionalmarkets, as well markets based on ethical-social considerations(for example, the fair trade market). This range ofproducts may be produced by the small- and medium-scaleproducers of the region, since the volumes are not necessarilyvery high and what is most important is the type anddenomination of origin of products. It is for that reason thatmany small- and medium-scale producers from countriesBox 1-6. Medicinal herbs and plants in the CaribbeanThe Caribbean is habitat for 2.3% (7,000) of all endemicplants worldwide, and 2.9% (779) of the vertebrate speciesof the world, even though it accounts for only 0.15% of theearth’s land mass. Hence the Caribbean is classified as oneof the most important “hotspots” in the world (Myers et al.,2000). In 1988 Norman Myer defined a hotspot as a regionof the earth characterized by exceptional levels of endemicspecies: A hotspot should be habitat for at least 1,500 speciesof vascular plants (the Caribbean has at least 2.3% =7,000 plants), which represent 0.5% of the total of endemicplants in the world (as of 2000). A hotspot must also have lostat least 70% of its original endemic species. The Caribbeanhas met this requirement because of major deforestation, soilerosion and water pollution. In countries such as Haiti and theDominican Republic, only 5% and 17%, respectively, of theircover remains.The natural wealth of the Caribbean has not been economicallyexploited, even though one sees a trend towardsthe popularization of medicinal herbs and plants, reflected inthe number of products available on the shelves of pharmacies,natural products and health stores, aromatherapy establishmentsand supermarkets (Denzil Phillips International,http://www.denzil.com/).Currently, the Caribbean is known primarily for a smallnumber of products derived from medicinal and aromaticherbs, despite the abundance of species. The range of productsincludes teas, exotic drinks made of herbs, traditionalherbal remedies, nutraceutics, phytomedicines, essential oils,plant extracts such as cosmetics, condiments, tinctures, liquidextracts and functional foods. Among the best-known productsare pepper, nutmeg and chili peppers. Progress has alsobeen made in adding value; some of the better-known productsinclude Angostura, Pickapeppa Sauce, Busha Browne’sand Walkerswood.The biggest beneficiaries of the wealth from Caribbeanspices mostly devolve to the approximately 90 firms that importdry herbs from the region to markets Europe, the UnitedStates and Japan. Some 85% of the herbs are exported asdry herbs. The global market for herbs is estimated at US$12billion, with the trade in raw extracts coming to US$8 billion.such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the DominicanRepublic, Peru and Colombia have been able to become internationalsuppliers and position themselves in markets asdemanding as those of Europe, Japan and the United States.Relevant cases include coffee, cacao, banana, oriental vegetables,fruits and aromatic herbs (Salas-Casasola et al., 2006)(See Box 1-6).The challenges posed by the markets’ new structure includecompetitiveness, regulations and marketing strategiesand structures, even in those niche markets. A large numberof countries in the region are trying to access the niche


32 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportmarkets, for example for oriental vegetables on the east coastof the United States, or for organic fruits in Europe andthroughout the United States and Canada. This means thatas quotas and tariff barriers have disappeared, the scenariooffers, in the best of cases, equal conditions and, therefore,those countries that meet the technical requirements (quality,certification, traceability, biosecurity, social and environmentalresponsibility) will have the best opportunity to gainaccess to, position themselves in and stay in those markets.LAC has a high ceiling for growing and tapping unsatisfiedmarkets for organic and functional foods which bythe year 2006 came to approximately US$40 billion. In thespecific case of organic and ecologically-sound foods, thechallenge is that organic agriculture requires more specializedmanagement and the certifications are expensive forsmall-scale producers. This has limited the participation ofthese producers in the global organic market, but has alsostimulated the formation of cooperative producers’ organizations,which bring other secondary benefits (Bray et al.,2005) (see 1.7.1).As for the challenge of regulations, Latin American producersand exporters have to comply not only with goodagricultural and generic manufacturing practices establishedby Codex Alimentarius, but in addition the markets themselveshave defined their protocols and quality and safetystandards such as EurepGAP for the European market andUSA-GAP and HACCP for the U.S. and Asian markets.These standards impose the challenge on Latin Americanand Caribbean agricultural producers and exporters of havingto make adjustments in their production processes andphysical production facilities so as to be able to comply withthe markets’ quality standards. Nowadays the producersin LAC who want to become inserted in the internationalmarkets are forced to adopt a culture of quality productionbased on continuous improvement and evolution oftheir products based strictly on market requirements. Thisprocess entails higher production costs and requires use ofoptimal methods, which at times wipes out the actual potentialof many producers in the region, especially small-scaleproducers.1.6.2.2 Regional trends in productionThe region has a total of 2.018 billion ha, of which approximately726 million (i.e., 36%) are under agriculturalproduction, including seasonal crops (7.1%), permanentcrops (about 1%) and pastureland (about 30%). In the last15 years, the total agricultural area increased 4.5%, whilethe total covered by forest (including forest plantations) diminished1.3%. The area under permanent crops such ascacao and coffee experienced the greatest increase in area,10.5%, although in the last decade, with the collapse of coffeeprices, the area planted in coffee diminished in almostthe entire region (Calo and Wise, 2005).The change in land use varied by region (Table 1-8).Figure 1-6 shows the increase in the total area under agriculturalproduction by region from 1961 to 2003. The SouthernCone, the largest region in area, also saw the greatestincrease in area planted. In the three decades from 1961to 1990, the area under production increased by 27%. Althoughthe rate of increase has diminished, since 1990 therewas a 6% increase in the region; Brazil, French Guiana andParaguay are the countries that saw the largest percentageincreases. Suriname, Uruguay and Guyana have experiencedalmost no change since the 1990s, while Chile suffered adecline of almost 6% in the total area in agriculture.The main change in land use in the Southern Cone hasbeen due to the increased production of soybean (Figure 1-7),especially in Brazil and Argentina; the total area planted insoybean was almost 47 million ha in these two countriesalone, which represents 8% of the total agricultural areaTable 1-8. Land use by region.SouthernConeAndean RegionMesoamerica(include Mexico)The CaribbeanTerrestrial total 1,297,040 456,197 241,943 22,895Agriculture total 450,362 133,923 128,815 13,044% of total 34.7 29.4 53.2 57.0Annual crops 93,842 13,263 30,736 5,327% of total 7.2 2.9 12.7 23.3Permanent crops 9,107 4,538 4,435 1,825 ‡% of total 0.7 1.0 1.8 8.0 ‡Areas with pasture 347,413 116,122 93,644 5,892 ‡% of total 26.8 25.5 38.7 25.9 ‡Forests and675,670 255,900 72,142 4,465 ‡plantation forests #% of total 52.1 56.1 29.8 19.6 ‡Notes:Most recent year with data on land use is 2003# Most recent year with data on land in forest and forestation is 1995.‡ With the exception of the total terrestrial area, the data for the Caribbean does not include Aruba, The Dutch Antilles, Turksor Caicos Islands.Source: FAOSTAT, 2005.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 33Figure 1-6. Change in the use of land in the 4 geographic regionsof Latin America and the Caribbean. Source: Authors’ elaborationfrom FAOSTAT data.of the Southern Cone (including pastureland) (FAOSTAT,2005). In Brazil, the expansion of soybean has occurred atthe expense of natural vegetation and more recently of thetropical forest in the Amazon (Fearnside, 2001b), while inArgentina the increase in soybean has been at the expense ofthe production of milk, maize, wheat and fruit crops, as wellas areas of natural vegetation such as the Yungas rain forestand the dry forest of the Chaco (Jordan, 2001; Jason, 2004;Pengue, 2005). Due to the expansion of soybean in Argentina,the rate of conversion of forest to agriculture is threeto six times the global average (Jason, 2004). The expansionof this crop has also accelerated deforestation indirectlyby means of the construction of railways and an extensivenetwork of highways that attract cattle growers, miningcompanies and logging interests to the Amazon jungle andby displacing small-scale producers (Fearnside, 2001a) (seeBox 1-7).Another major change in this area has been the expansionof cattle-ranching in Brazil. Brazil has increased its cattleherd by 122 million animals in the last 15 years (an 83% increase)and today has 269 million animals (Figure 1-8). Thisexpansion has also taken place at the cost of the Amazonforests. According to Giglo (2000), the expansion of cattlein Brazil (and Bolivia) was facilitated by tax incentives put inplace by the governments (for example, the “Amazonas Legal”program in Brazil) and the availability of cheap labor.The total agricultural area in Mesoamerica increasedalmost 9% from 1961 to 1990, but only 4% since 1990(Figure 1-6). Though initially Belize, Costa Rica and Guatemalacontributed considerably to the increase in agriculturallands in the region, since the 1990s Belize, El Salvador andNicaragua have experienced the greatest increases (27%,19% and 11%, respectively). Surprisingly, Honduras hasbeen experiencing a decline in agricultural lands since the1990s; its agricultural area has diminished almost 13%.This is mainly due to the decline in banana production,which was Honduras’s main export during the first half ofFigure 1-7. Growth of cultivated surface in soy of LAC countrieswith the largest volume of production. Source: Authors’ elaborationfrom FAOSTAT, 2005.the 20 th century, but which began to fall as the result of acombination of diseases, labor organizing and globalization(Soluri, 2005).The Andean region shows a similar pattern of changeas Mesoamerica (Figure 1-6), with an increase in the totalagricultural area of 16% from 1961 to 1990 and 4%since 1990. Ecuador is the country with the greatest changein the first three decades (65%), but it increased only 4%since 1990, whereas Peru saw an 11% increase in the sameperiod. The other Andean countries, with the exception ofVenezuela (which has seen almost no change in its total agriculturalarea since 1990), have seen increases of 2-5%.The Caribbean is the region with the smallest area inLAC. This region experienced a 35% increase in the areaplanted; Cuba is the country that contributed most to thisincrease. In the first three decades of the Cuban Revolution,it expanded its agricultural area 91%, while other Caribbeancountries saw decreases. Since 1990 there has been adecline in total agricultural lands of 1.3% in the Caribbean.Although most of the Caribbean countries experienced adiminution in agricultural area (including Cuba, but especiallyPuerto Rico, with a decline of 51%), other countries,such as Dominica, Bahamas and Saint Vincent, had rela-


34 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportBox 1-7. Transgenic soybean in ArgentinaArgentina is the second leading producer of transgenic crops,with 18 million ha planted. This represents more than 5.5%of Argentina’s area, larger than all of Nicaragua. The developmentof transgenics in Argentina is inseparable from theexpansion of the soybean crop. Today Argentina plants 15million ha of transgenic soybean, mainly Roundup® resistant(RR), producing 38.3 million tonnes (Altieri and Pengue,2005). The low cost of the herbicide, the possibility of retainingand reusing the seed, the lower consumption of energy,the simplicity of the methods of application, and a major publicitycampaign made this technological package attractiveto many producers (Trigo and Cap, 2003; Qaim and Traxler,2005; Souza, 2004). It is estimated that from 1996 to 2001,the technology of RR soybean generated profits of US$5.2billion, 80% of it captured by the producers and the rest bythe supplier corporations (Trigo et al., 2002). In 2002, soybeanaccounted for 20% of Argentina’s export revenues.This technology has caused major changes in the environmentand in Argentina society. The economic benefitshave been accompanied by social changes such as migration,concentration of landholdings and agribusinesses, andthe loss of food sovereignty (Souza, 2004; Altieri and Pengue,2005; Pengue, 2005). For example, at the same time as theproduction area of RR soybean tripled, some 60,000 units engagedin the production of food crops were abandoned. Thereplacement of traditional activities such as cattle-raising,vegetable production, fruit production, dairy production, andproduction of other cereal grains (maize and wheat) by thesoybean crop is resulting in a lower supply of these productsin the market, with the consequent rise in prices and lessaccess for the more economically vulnerable sectors (Alteriand Pengue, 2005; Souza, 2004). From 1998 to 2002, 25%of the country’s farms were lost, most of them small producers(Altieri and Pengue, 2005, 2006). From 1992 to 1999 thenumber of farms in the Pampas was reduced from 170,000 to116,000, while the average size of a farm increased from 243to 538 ha in 2003 (Pengue, 2005).Transgenic soybean has had environmental benefits relatedto the practice of zero-tillage (Trigo and Cap, 2003; Qaim andTraxler, 2005). These effects are overshadowed by the dramaticincrease in the use of herbicides (mainly glyphosate) (Trigo andCap, 2003) (see Figure); the appearance of glyphosate-tolerantweeds (Papa, 2000); the increase in the use of synthetic fertilizers;the depletion of soil nutrients; the degradation of the soilstructure; and the loss of habitat and biodiversity (Altieri andPengue, 2005; Pengue, 2005). Soybean expansion has evenoccurred on non-farm lands, not only in the Pampas but alsoin susceptible and high-biodiversity ecoregions such as theYungas, the Gran Chaco, and the Mesopotamian Forest (Pengue,2005). Since the introduction of transgenic soybean, 5.3million ha of non-farm lands have been converted to soybeanproduction, and the rate of conversion of forest to agricultureis three to six times the global average (Jason, 2004).Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup ®, is a broadspectrumherbicide classified as low (category IV) or medium(category III) toxicity. Nonetheless, there is ample evidencethat glyphosate is not innocuous, as was once thought (seefigure below). Most toxicological studies are done exclusivelywith the active ingredient (i.e. glyphosate) and not with thecommercial formulations that contain the so-called inert ingredients.Roundup® contains glyphosate and the surfactantpolyoxy-ethyleneamine, or POEA, which is three times moretoxic than glyphosate alone (USEPA, 2002).On the whole, transgenic soybean has been an economicsuccess in Argentina. Nonetheless, it has not helped meetthe goals of reducing hunger, poverty or inequality, nor has ithelped increase sustainability in Argentina.Studies that show negative effects of glyphosate orRoundup®:• High degree of mortality in amphibians (Relyea, 2005 ab).• Reduction in the number of aquatic species, including fish(Henry et al., 1994; Wan et al., 1985; WHO, 1994).• Direct and indirect negative effects on beneficial soil organisms(spiders, earthworms, and others) (Hassan et al.,1988; Burst, 1990; Asteraky et al., 1992; Mohamed, 1992;Springert and Gray, 1992).• Toxicity in nitrogen-fixing bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi andactinomycetes (all important in recycling nutrients andother ecological soil processes) (Chakravarty and Chatarpaul,1990; Carlisle and Trevors, 1998; Estok et al., 1998).• Stimulating effect on populations of the pathogenic fungusFusarium, including Fusarium graminearum, which affectssoybean (Levesque et al., 1987; Sanogo, 2000; Hansonand Fernández, 2003; Fernández et al., 2005).• Synergetic effect when combined with other pesticides(Relyea, 2003).• May accelerate the process of eutrophication of bodies ofwater, since it acts as a source of phosphorus (Austin etal., 1991).


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 35Figure 1-8. Evolution of the number of beef cattle in SouthernCone countries. Source: Authors’ elaboration from FAOSTAT data.tively significant increases (from 15 to 28%). One of themain trends in the English-speaking Caribbean has been theconversion of agricultural lands to urban centers and activitiesfor tourism. Box 1-8 discusses this situation in severalcountries of this region.The four subregions of LAC also differ in terms of thepercentage of land that is under different uses (for example,permanent crops and pasturelands, among others). As reflectedin Table 1-8, Central America (including Mexico)and the Caribbean are the two regions with the highest proportionof their territory in seasonal crops. This is relatedto greater population density and the predominance of themaize and bean system in Central America and sugarcane inthe Caribbean. Compared to the other regions, the Caribbeanalso has a higher proportion of land in permanent crops. Theproportion of land in pastures in the Caribbean, the Andeanregion and the Southern Cone fluctuates from 25 to 27%,but Mesoamerica has a higher proportion of its land in pastures(almost 40%). Finally, both the Southern Cone and theAndean region have more than 50% of their territory underforest cover, while the Caribbean and Mesoamerica have asmaller percentage (20 and 30% respectively).In terms of products or specific groups of categories ofproducts, there have been changes depending on the marketsdemands. In some products, growth has been minimaland there has even been stagnation, such as root crops andtubers, coffee, bananas, cotton and cereal grains. In contrast,there has been a jump in the production of oil-bearingcrops (mainly soybean and African palm), fruits, vegetablesand sugarcane. 5Recently sugarcane has taken on great importance givenits potential for the production of ethanol. Sugarcane hasthe advantage of being quite efficient in the production ofbiomass and is a crop that can produce year-round. In theregion, only Brazil has begun to make significant use of sugarcaneas a raw material in the ethanol industry (Dias deOliveira et al., 2005; Licht, 2005). It is argued that Brazilhas the potential to produce enough ethanol to respond tothe domestic demand for fuel if it earmarks all of its caneproduction to the production of ethanol, or if the area givenover to this crop is doubled (in other words, if the area increasesto 5.6 million ha) (Berg, 2004). Unfortunately, expandingthe area of this crop has negative implications forthe environment. It is estimated that sugarcane monocultureaccounts for 13% of all herbicide use in all Brazil. Studiesdone by EMBRAPA in 2002 (cited by Altieri and Bravo,2007) confirm the contamination of the Guaraní aquifer inthe state of Sao Paulo, which is attributable mainly to thecane crop (Altieri and Bravo, 2007). The area planted insugarcane is quickly expanding to the Cerrado region, oneof the biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al., 2000) and is contributingto the destruction of this unique ecosystem, whichmaintains only 20% of its original vegetation (Mittermejeret al., 2000).In addition to soybean, another oil-bearing crop that hasexpanded considerably in the region has been African oil palm,which has undergone expansion mainly in Central America,Ecuador and Colombia (Carrere, 2001; Buitrón, 2002; Donald,2004). As in the case of soybean, the expansion of thiscrop, which is produced on large expanses as a monoculture,is threatening unique ecosystems such as the tropicalforest of the Chocó in Ecuador and Colombia (Fearnside,2001b; Donald, 2004). In Colombia, there have also beencases of violent displacements of Afrodescendant communitiesto grow African palm (Diocese of Quibdó, 2001).The production of cereal grains (beans, lentils, pigeonpeas and others) and root crops and tubers has remainedstable in recent years, but in some cases there have beendrops in production. LAC exported a total of 18.8 milliontonnes of cereal grains (18% of world exports) (USDA,2005), but almost all of this was produced by Brazil andArgentina (4 million tonnes and 14.5 million tonnes respectively).In the particular case of maize, world exports cometo 74.5 million tonnes, of which only 14 million are exportsfrom LAC, specifically Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.The maize crop and its consumption in Mexico and CentralAmerica have been affected by imports of subsidized maize5Rural Development Unit of CEPAL, based on the FAO productionyearbook, Rome.


36 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportBox 1-8. Land conversion from agriculture to tourism in the English speaking CaribbeanUrbanization is a phenomenon that is occurring throughout theworld. As urban centers grow, agricultural land is informally convertedinto urban use, particularly for tourism. The English-speakingCaribbean, a chain of small islands, which is as an attractivedestination for foreigners who travel thousands of miles, and spendconsiderable sums of money to take in the sun, sand and sea.In the English-speaking Caribbean, the role of the Statein relation to tourism has mainly been indirect. Physical incentivesare common, for example, the provision of infrastructure,utilities and promotional activities accompanied by some trainingand development. Tourism is mainly a private sector activity,however the Bahamas, Curacao, Aruba and Grenada haveput mechanisms in place to exercise control over the industry.At a Workshop on Land Policy, Administration and Managementin the English speaking Caribbean held in Port of Spain Trinidadin March 2003, prominent Land Managers and Administratorsthroughout the Caribbean presented papers on the workshoptheme. The issues common throughout the deliberations indicatedthe State has been delinquent in its physical planningstrategies and this has resulted in unregulated control over land.For example in Tobago, local fishermen were denied access tothe Pigeon Point beach; after a lengthy legal battle the State acquiredthe property in order to allow locals to access the beach.The State’s lack of implementation of physical planning strategiesand enforcement of building codes has resulted in irresponsibledevelopment. Foreign capital channeled through ventureswith local residents is the driving force behind most of the development.Once business partners have sufficient funding toundertake their venture, there is no need to interact with the PlanningAuthority for approval, since the change in land use patternsoccurs outside of the formal process. This process results in agriculturalland being converted to large tourism complexes andprivate holiday villas with little if any oversight. In some or almostmost of the territories in the Caribbean, planning guidelines are notenforced, site development standards are breached and buildingdesigns are not always compatible with the land use classification.Since the tourism infrastructure of the Caribbean region ismainly located on the coast, the majority of tourist facilities arelocated within 800 m of the high water mark. The wastes andpollution generated by the tourism industry, especially by cruiseships, are discharged into the sea. The impact of this activity is sogreat that in Trinidad and Tobago research on the die-off rate offish species is being conducted by the Institute of Marine Affairs.Jamaica has not as yet achieved the sustainable managementof its land resources. Eighty percent of the island hasbeen classified as mountainous with the remainder zoned foragriculture, commercial, industrial, mining, residential, watershedsand other uses. The State owns 22% of the land in Jamaica,and one of the challenges faced by the State is the lackof development plans and databases. Work has been initiatedto address these shortcomings through legislation and policy.In Guyana, as the boundaries of the urban center expand, agriculturalland is informally converted to urban use, such as tourism.Guyana is faced with the challenge of preserving its remainingagricultural land holdings near the city in the presence of an influxof rural migrants. Guyana lacks a National Plan to addressthe supply of land for ecotourism as well as policies to addresscoastal agriculture, urban housing, and the use of land for touristresorts. Currently physical planning is sporadic and reactionary.In Antigua and Barbuda, the development of the tourism industryis reflected in the patterns of land use change evidenton the island. Prior to 1975, the major land uses were agriculture,grazing and livestock. By 1983 the labor force in agriculturefell from 46% to 9% and by 1985, 60% of the work forcewas in the public or private sector with 23% in tourism. Therewas also a marked decline in land in agriculture from approximately25,000 acres in 1964 to 5,500 acres in 1985. Of these1200 acres was used for the construction of hotels and golfcourses. There was a marked increase in the construction of facilitiesfor tourists and by 1995 the acreage increased by 138%.Although this statistic signifies a large percentage of the laborforce is in the tourism industry, many persons are also convertingresidential properties into bed and breakfast facilities therebygenerating the need for additional resources. In the case of Tobago,many large agricultural estates are being subdivided intosmaller parcels and converted to holiday homesteads for sale toforeigners. This trend has resulted in an astronomical increasein the price of real estate on the island and many locals arenow unable to acquire a decent property at an affordable price.In Trinidad and Tobago, in 1992 the State adopted a New Administrationand Distribution Policy for Land. One of the policygoals enunciated in the document was the prevention of prime agriculturalland from being converted to nonagricultural use throughthe institution of land use zoning. The objective was to ensure foodproduction, food security and employment for the rural sector.Many of the islands that comprise the English-speaking Caribbeanrely heavily on the tourism industry as a significant contributorto their GDP. Some such as Trinidad and Tobago andpossibly Jamaica also have additional resources e.g. oil andgas. More attention must be focused on the issue of the formulationof National Physical Development Plans with specific referenceto land for tourism and the attendant site developmentstandards. Some territories have drafted Physical DevelopmentPlans, however many are outdated or are awaiting approval fromthe relevant authorities. Even in instances where Plans havebeen accepted, implementation of the Plans has been stymiedby administrative and bureaucratic challenges. It is evident thatwith the overexploitation of natural resources for tourism, unintendedconsequences can arise. If the product is no longer ofinterest then travelers will take their business elsewhere, henceone can not sufficiently underscore the importance of the role ofphysical planning in the sustainable development of the region.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 37from the United States and more recently by the increaseduse of maize to produce ethanol in the United States.LAC is one of the most important regions in the worldin livestock production. Nonetheless, beef exports are dominatedby just two countries, Argentina and Brazil. Of totalworld beef exports, estimated at 5.72 million tonnes (USDA,2005), Argentina and Brazil together account for 37%, with2.14 million tonnes of beef exported between them. It isforecast that the economic take-off of Asia, mainly Chinaand South Korea, will result in a 22% increase in demandfor beef with respect to 2005 imports (USDA, 2005). Asfor hog production, of a total of 4.2 million tonnes sold inthe international market, only 11% is produced by LAC.Once again, two countries alone account for the lion’s shareof these figures: Argentina (48 million tonnes) and Mexico(440 million tonnes).Milk production in LAC is far below expectations, takinginto account the proportion of arable land and pasturelandin the region. The region produces only 8.96% of themilk produced in the world (FAPRI, 2006). The productionof milk is concentrated in South America (Argentina, Brazil,Peru, Venezuela and Colombia). In terms of exports, the region’sperforms at levels below what one would expect giventhe world dynamic in relation to processed products. OnlyArgentina and Uruguay export butter, cheese and powderedmilk.The wealth of LAC’s marine biomass has not been properlytaken into account, as evidenced by the low levels ofproduction of this resource. The fish supply internationallyis 100.2 million tonnes, only 3.1 million tonnes of which isproduced in Latin America and the Caribbean (this figuredoes not include Mexico).The area in forests and timber production constitute anothercategory with extraordinary potential. The region isone of the more forested in the world, with one-fourth of thetotal forests worldwide (UNEP, 2002b). The forested areacomes to 834 million ha of tropical forest and some 130 millionha of other types of forest, accounting for 48% of thetotal. This forest cover is not evenly distributed, for Argentina,Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuelaaccount for 56% of the total. There are other countries,however, with serious forest problems, such as Haiti, lessthan 3% of whose territory has forest cover. The forests ofLAC contain 160 billion m 3 of timber, accounting for onethirdof all timber in the world. In terms of exports, Braziland Chile are the leading exporters of timber and timberproducts. It should be emphasized that any type of use offorest resources should take into consideration the possibleenvironmental impacts and impacts on climate change andbe done in the context of sustainable management plans. Todaythere are three programs for tropical timber certificationthat attest to the origin of the timber and whether it comesfrom a forest managed using certain criteria of environmentalsustainability (Baharuddin, 1995). Forest resources mayalso be tapped by rural communities and provide an importantsource of income to the communities that live in forestareas. Mexico is one of the world leaders in communityforest management for commercial timber production (Brayet al., 2005). The Mexican communities are attaining a balancebetween income-generation for the community andforest conservation.In summary, among the main trends in the region inrecent years, special mention can be made of the productionof oil-bearing crops, particularly soybean, which increasedconsiderably in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, aswell as African palm in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica,Ecuador and Colombia. In addition, there was an increasein the cultivation of fruits and vegetables for export, mainlyin Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica. Anothertrend during the 1990s was the increase in forest products inChile, Argentina, Uruguay and Honduras and the increasein cattle-ranching in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. In the English-speakingCaribbean there has been a transformation ofagricultural lands to urban development and tourism, increasingdependence on imported foods. In many countriesof the region, the increase in exports has occurred at theexpense of food production for the domestic market, whichhas led to an increase in imports of agricultural goods (includingfish and forest products, as well as agroindustrialproducts).According to an extensive study by CEPAL cited by Davidet al. (2001), from 1979 to 2001, the region importedtwo times more agricultural products than it exported.Nonetheless, FAO data show that the deficit in the exportsof grains and legumes is much greater for the countries ofMesoamerica and the Caribbean than for South America,although the data for South America are highly influencedby the exports of countries such as Brazil and Argentina(see Figure 1-9). This emphasis on export products also hasrepercussions on the food sovereignty of the countries ofthe region. For example, among the products with a marketdeficit are products essential for food in the region, suchas maize, beans, rice, cereal grains, milk and other dairyproducts (David et al., 2001). Finally, these trends have alsoaffected the agrarian structure of several countries in theregion, since the increase in exports has taken place mainlyin the most capitalized sector of agriculture (the large-scaleproducers tied to agroindustry and the export market) andhave resulted in the displacement of small-scale producers.The CEPAL study concludes that the neoliberal reforms responsiblefor the changes described have accentuated thedifferences between those who have access to capital andmarket and those who do not (David et al., 2001).Transgenic crops. Despite the controversy concerning aroundtransgenic crops, gradually they have been adopted in LAC,with impacts perceived by some as negative and by othersas positive, in relation to the goals of sustainability, povertyreduction and equity. The Southern Cone is the regionwith the largest production of transgenic crops, with almost32 million ha planted in 2006 (Argentina, 18; Brazil, 11.5;Paraguay, 2; Uruguay, 0.4). Mexico, Colombia, Hondurasand more recently Bolivia are also producing transgeniccrops, but have less than 0.1 million ha each (James, 2006).Today, LAC produces just over one-third of the transgeniccrops in the world. Most are accounted for by just threecrops: herbicide-resistant soybean (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay,Uruguay, Bolivia and Mexico), Bt maize (Argentina,Uruguay and Honduras) and Bt cotton (Argentina, Brazil,Mexico and Colombia) (Table 1-9) (James, 2006).Transgenic crops have been an economic success storyin some countries of Latin America, in particular Argentina;


38 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportFigure 1-9. Imports and exports of pulses and grains for Latin America and the Caribbean. Pulses databetween 1961 and 2004 for countries in a) Central America and the Caribbean; b) South America; Grainsdata between 1961 and 2004 for countries in c) Central America and the Caribbean; d) South America.Source: FAOSTAT, 2005.nonetheless, thus far these benefits have been monopolizedmainly by the large producers and agroindustries (see Box1-7). Internationally, 90% of the producers who grow transgenics,i.e., 9.3 million, are small-scale producers, but theyare almost all in China (6.8 million) and India (2.3 million)(Brookes and Barfoot, 2006; James, 2006). In LAC, mosttransgenics crops are planted in large tracts in monoculture.Although the promoters of transgenic crops argue thatthis technology benefits small-scale producers and that it isa sound tool for fighting poverty and hunger in the world(Pray et al., 2002; James, 2006), there are very few empiricalstudies that verify these assertions for LAC. In a recentstudy of Roundup-resistant soybean in Argentina, Qaim andTraxler (2005) concluded that transgenic soybean was moreprofitable than conventional soybean and that small-scaleproducers benefited the most. A second study on the adoptionof Bt cotton by producers in Coahuila, Mexico reacheda similar conclusion (Traxler and Godoy-Avila, 2004). Bothcases represent special situations. In the case of Argentinathe producers do not pay for the “intellectual propertyrights” for the transgenic seed. Moreover, the classificationof “small” includes producers of up to 100 ha with access tocapital (Qaim and Traxler, 2005). In the case of Mexico, theproducers pay intellectual property rights to the companyMonsanto/D&PL, but they receive credit from the governmentto purchase the transgenic seed. In this case the benefitaccrued largely due to the financial and technical supportprovided by the government and by the implementation ofother plant protection programs (Traxler and Godoy-Avila,2004).The technology of transgenics has brought about majortransformations in the environment and society in some


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 39Table 1-9. Production of transgenic crops in LAC.Global Ranking Country(*) Area (millions ofhectares)Crop2* Argentina 18.0 Soybean, maize, cotton3* Brazil 11.5 Soybean, cotton7* Paraguay 2.0 Soybean9* Uruguay 0.4 Soybean, maize13* México 0.1 Cotton, soybean15 Colombia


40 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportBox 1-9. Biopharmaceutical crops and possible impacts in Mexico, center of origin of maizeBiopharmaceutical crops are plants that have been geneticallymodified to express substances with therapeutic properties,for example viral proteins for vaccines, hormones or antibodies(Gomez, 2001; Ellstrand, 2003; Ma, 2003). The first recombinantpharmaceutical proteins derived from plants werethe human growth hormone expressed in tobacco in 1986(Barta et al. 1986) and the human seroalbumin also from thatcrop, and in potato crops in 1990 (Ma et al., 2005). Twentyyears later, the first drugs produced in transgenic plants arealready being marketed. Although some developments usecell cultures from plants, insects, animals or microorganismsto express these molecules, others use complete plants ofrice, tobacco and maize, in confined or open field crops, thelatter promising lower costs. Over time, the technology hasimproved considerably, improving the economic feasibilityof this application (Ko and Koprowski, 2005; Stewart andKnight, 2005). Of all these systems, expression in seeds hasturned out to be of enormous utility for accumulating proteinsin a relatively small volume; they do not degrade because theendosperm conserves the proteins without any need for lowtemperatures, which is a great advantage for the production,for example, of oral vaccines (Han, et al., 2006). Among cereals,maize, rice and barley are interesting alternatives; butmaize has a greater annual yield, moderately high proteincontent in the seed, and a shorter crop cycle, which givesit greater potential protein yield per hectare overall (Stogeret al., 2005). Though maize has the disadvantage of being across-pollinating plant, no other cereal grain achieves suchyields (Stoger et al., 2005), which makes it the most usedsystem of expression; t holds more than 70% of the permitsissued by APHIS from 1991 to 2004 (Elbeheri, 2005).There are more than 20 firms in the US, Canada and Europespecialized in these production platforms (Huot, 2003;Colorado Institute of Public Policy, 2004). The costs are muchlower than those of microbial systems (Elbeheri, 2005). Theeconomic and technical feasibility combined with the perceptionof maize as an industrial raw material have resulted in itbeing the most widely used biopharmaceutical crop. Nonetheless,these criteria do not consider the potential risks formillions of people who have a maize-based diet. The first riskis that the grains that contain the compound may pass intothe food production chain in industrial operations because itis impossible to distinguish them by sight. Careless handlingin industrial processing can occur; it has already happenedwith Starlink maize in 2000 and with rice (USDA, 2006), althoughthey are not biopharmaceuticals. This has happenedin the US, where the rules on biosafety are well established,though they are not necessarily implemented adequately(USDA, 2005). This contamination may have a potential negativeeffect in the populations that consume these grains: inMexico per capita maize consumptions varies from 285 – 480g daily, and is the source of as much as 40% of protein intake,given its low cost (Bourges, 2002; FAO, 2006).The potential effect may be disastrous if added to the secondgreat risk, the risk of genetic flow. This is not a physicalmix of grains, but rather the release of a pharmaceuticaltransgene that is inherited in the offspring, where it can endurefor several generations in an open seed exchange systemas one finds in Mexico (Cleveland and Soleri, 2005). Thepotential dangers of exposure to recombinant compoundsby this means would affect practically the entire populationof Mexico, particularly those that produce maize for subsistenceor on a semi-commercial basis. The genetic contaminationof maize could be devastating since Mexico is one ofthe centers of genetic diversification, and Mexican culture istightly bound to this crop. Using maize for the production ofpharmaceuticals and non-edible industrial products, whichalso pose health hazards, is the result of a series of decisionin which Mexicans did not participate but which maydirectly affect them. These decisions have been made bycompanies and policy makers in the more technologicallydeveloped countries where lobbying has led to prohibitionson developments in animals because public opinion—whichin these countries is often the driving force behind regulatorychanges—considers them more similar to humans, thoughcontaining them is easier (NAS, 2002), and they have beenused for a long time to produce vaccines and serums, antibodies,etc. This situation has accorded priority to productionin plants worldwide, which is also cheaper. The consortia andtheir experts argue that there are no appreciable or verifiablerisks in these crops. Even if the risks are low, which is debatable,contamination of food crops with pharmaceutical maizegrains would taint the food supply of 100 million Mexicans.If maize in Mexico is contaminated by genetic flow, it wouldnot be easy to eliminate, and it would affect 60% of the noncommercialand commercial productive units in the country,e.g., production for family consumption in Mexico, whichuses 33% of the area planted in maize, and produces 37% ofdomestic maize production (Nadal, 2000; Brush and Chauvet,2004). This would directly affect the safety of the food baseof millions of Mexicans, not to mention the impact on megadiversityin a center of origin. Although there are methods ofbiological containment of trangenes such as the transformationof chloroplasts, which are inherited from the mother plant(Daniell et al., 2005), inducing the expression with substancesthat must be added to the crop (Han et al., 2006), and othersystems of genetic containment (Mascia and Flavell, 2004),no containment system is infallible. In a case such as this,where there are possibilities of contamination, and where theconsequences would be disastrous for millions of human beings,one should apply the precautionary principle.If there is contamination, what would the potential effect beon human health?• Plants and animals process proteins in different ways. Biopharmaceuticalsmay be perceived by the human body as


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 41Box 1-9. continuedforeign substances and cause allergic reactions, includingpotentially deadly anaphylactic shock.• Growth factors such as erythropoietin are active in concentrationsof one billionth of a gram when injected, andcould cause harm if inhaled, ingested or absorbed throughthe skin.• The chemical/insecticide avidin causes vitamin deficiencyand coagulation of blood, and aprotin may cause diseases ofthe pancreas in animals and in humans. These two chemicalsare produced in transgenic maize cultivated in open fields.• Industrial enzymes that are produced in transgenic maize(trypsin and antitrypsin) are allergens.Can biopharmaceuticals affect the environment?• Apritinin and other enzymes that inhibit digestion shortenthe life of honeybees, while avidin directly kills or has achronic effect on 26 insect species.• There is no way to prevent wildlife from consuming cropsthat contain high concentrations of biopharmaceuticals.These substances have not been tested for effects in themacroorganisms and microorganisms of the soil, although itis known that other proteins in transgenic crops leach fromthe roots and persist in the soil for months.tion of nutraceuticals and biopharmaceuticals or non-edibleindustrial products that impede use of the crop for food (seeBox 1-9).On balance, despite the economic success of sometransgenic crops and their swift adoption by large andmedium-scale agricultural producers in some regions, thusfar transgenic crops in LAC have not contributed adequatelyto satisfying the goals of sustainability, poverty reductionand equity. Leading social movements in Latin America andthe Caribbean have openly stated their opposition to transgeniccrops and in particular to intellectual property rightsand genetic use restriction technology (sterile seed technology)which, they argue, threaten the rights of local producersto keep and use genetic resources (Vía Campesina, 1996;Desmarais, 2002). Despite the opposing positions on transgenics,there does appear to be consensus in the region asto the pressing need to apply and adhere to precautionaryregulations in the process of generating and adopting thistechnology. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, adoptedunder the Convention on Biological Diversity, is the firstinternational agreement for the control of modern biotechnologyand applies the precautionary principle to the useand transnational movement of transgenic crops (Eggersand Mackenzie, 2000). Of the countries in LAC that aregrowing transgenic crops, Argentina, Uruguay and Hondurashave not ratified the agreement. 6Nanotechnology. Another component of the new technologyis nanotechnology. Nanotechnology refers to the manipulationof matter on a nanometric scale (one nanometerequals one one-millionth of a meter). In LAC, the useof nanotechnologies has not yet become widespread, norare there government initiatives in the area of research anddevelopment to produce particular applications for theregion.Nanotechnology is thought to offer society opportunities.The possible applications in agriculture include integratedpest and disease management at the molecular level,as well as technologies that improve the capacity of plants6http://www.biodiv.org/biosafety/signinglist.aspx?sts=rtf&ord=dt.to absorb nutrients. One can already find intelligent sensorsand systems on the market for applying slow-releasinginputs at the molecular level used in agriculture to fightviruses and other pathogens. There are also the so-callednanostructured catalytic materials, which bolster the efficiencyof pesticides, including herbicides, possibly contributingto reduced chemical use in agriculture. Nonetheless,nanotechnology also poses major environmental and possiblyhealth risks, as well as social, economic and ethical challenges(ETC, 2007). Nanoproducts could enter the humanbody or the environment and have unpredictable effects.Research studies on the impacts of nanoproducts are almostnon-existent, so very little is known of the possible consequencesof releasing these products in the environment. Asnanoproducts are still not widely dispersed in the environment,they present an excellent opportunity to implementthe precautionary principle, in order to assess potential impactsbefore the products are released.Biofuels/Agrofuels. The global trend towards diminishedworld oil reserves plus the steadily increasing demand forfuels from non-renewable resources had induced a markedinterest in the last decade (1996-2006) in identifying alternativefuel sources. In this context, major efforts have beenmade to optimize the use of plant biomass as an alternativerenewable source for the production of bioenergy.Traditional sources of biofuels have been used on a smallscale with little technology, such as the direct fuel of firewoodand manure for generating bioheat. The most widelyused modern bioenergy has been microbial fermentation ofmanure to obtain biogas, which provides heat and electricityon rural properties. And more recently, on a larger scaleare liquid biofuels, alcohol and biodiesel, obtained fromcrops such as sugarcane, soybean, castor-oil plant, oil palm,cassava, maize and beets, among others, more specificallycalled agrofuels. The possibility of producing biofuels holdsout one of the great hopes in the world for reducing dependencyon fossil fuels such as gasoline, gas oil and kerosene.The Americas have traditionally held a leading place inthe production of sugarcane, which has been a leading cropin the bioconversion of biomass to fuel (IEA, 2004). In LAC,


42 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportcountries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay andColombia produce agrofuels mainly from sugarcane andoil palm. Brazil has produced fuel alcohol since 1975; it isthe leading producer of sugarcane worldwide and produces60% of the world total of ethanol from sugar, with threemillion ha of sugarcane crops. In 2005, production reacheda record 16.5 billion liters, two million of which were forexport (Jason, 2004).Among the advantages attributed to agrofuels as an alternativeto fossil fuels that they mitigate climate changedue to the reduction in gas emissions from the greenhouseeffect, bring higher rural incomes for farmers and contributeto greater rural development. In Colombia, moreover,the government (in 2007) considers them an alternativeto illicit crops and as a source of employment in ruralareas.Most oil-dependent countries are engaged in the discussionof biofuels today, seeing in them a viable long-termsolution to the problem of regional energy insufficiency.On the other hand researchers put forth concerns becausethey consider large-scale production of monoculture cropsfor agrofuels—under the conventional/productivist systemof production dependent on chemical inputs (pesticides andfertilizer) made using the fossil energy that is sought to bereplaced—will have negative impacts.The concerns are related to accelerated processes ofdeforestation, destruction of biodiversity, soil erosion anddegradation, impacts on water and a negative balance ofgreenhouse gas emissions. To this situation are added thepossible effects of displacement of food crops and increasesin food prices, which will directly affect the food security andfood sovereignty of local communities, mainly in developingcountries. In Mexico, the redirection of maize crops forexport to the United States to manufacture ethanol broughton a disproportionate increase in the price of maize, an essentialingredient in the tortilla, which is the main sourceof food and nutrition for the Mexican population. The increasein food prices is also hitting the livestock and poultryindustries (Fearnside, 2001a; Bravo, 2006).RALLT (2004) cites studies that show that producingone tonne of cereals or vegetables with modern agriculturepractices requires six to ten times more energy than usingsustainable farming methods. The components of modernindustrial agriculture that consume the most energy are theproduction of nitrogen fertilizers, agricultural machineryand irrigation using pumps. These accounted for more than90% of the energy used directly or indirectly in agricultureand all are essential to it (RALLT, 2004). In addition, theelimination of carbon-sequestering forests to open the wayto these crops will further increase CO 2emissions (Donald,2004; Bravo, 2006).There is also a major debate on the energy balance formaking ethanol or biodiesel from some bioenergy crops. Theresults of the research by David Pimentel and Tad Patzek atCornell University in the United States (Pimentel and Patzek,2005) support the notion that the energy balance of all thecrops, with current processing methods, is such that morefossil energy is spent to produce biofuels than they provide.Thus, for each unit of energy expended on fossil fuel, thereturn is 0.778 units of methanol from maize; 0.688 unitsof ethanol from switchgrass; 0.636 units of ethanol fromwood; and, in the worst of the cases examined, 0.534 unitsof biodiesel from soybean (RALLT, 2004; Bravo, 2006).1.6.2.3 Food chainsWe understand agrifood chain to refer to the whole set ofdifferent movements in the process of food production thattake place before, within and after agricultural productionsystems, linking all those involved, from the producer ofinputs to the end consumer. The concept includes itemswhose end use is food as well as agricultural output sold toother industries. The set of all the agrifood chains, includingsupport services, constitutes the agribusiness (Castroet al., 2001). The predominant model of development inthe last 50 years, as already indicated, accorded priority toarticulating the production systems and inputs and offeredincentives for developing agroexports. The best-articulatedagrifood chains in the region are for oil-bearing crops, beef,dairy products and vegetables. The opening up of LatinAmerican markets and the need for the markets of the developedcountries to expand has accelerated the economicconcentration of the components of agribusiness, especiallythe supply of inputs and seed and marketing agrifood products,in which the multinational corporations are alreadythe most powerful economic actors, influencing policy decisionsthat are restructuring agriculture generally, agrifoodsystems in particular and the process of technological developmentand technological innovations for the agriculturalsector (Friedland et al., 1991; Bonanno et al., 1994; McMichael,1994).Although the agricultural inputs sector was alreadydominated by large corporations before the 1990s, thatdecade saw a greater rate of concentration in this sector.For example, today only 10 corporations control 84% ofpesticide sales in the world. The 10 largest corporations inthe seed business control 50% of seed sales worldwide andthe 10 largest biotechnology companies control almost 75%of biotechnology sales, including seed for transgenic crops(ETC, 2005).At the other end of the food chains one finds the processors,distributors and supermarkets. The penetration oftransnational corporations in this sector is also proceedingby leaps and bounds in the region, even in rural areas. Forexample, in Argentina only seven supermarket chains control77.5% of supermarket sales in 1999 and of these, 80%belonged to multinational chains (Carrefour, Ahold andWal-Mart, among others). As of that date, only two nationalchains had survived (Gutman, 2002). In Costa Rica, supermarketchains control 50% of all food sales and the sevenlargest companies control 98% of supermarket sales (Alvaradoand Charmel, 2002). In Chile, four companies (two nationaland two foreign) control 50% of the market; the milkand dairy products sector is the most heavily dominated bythe supermarket chains: the five largest companies accountfor 80% of sales (Faiguenbaum et al., 2002). The growingcontrol of multinational chains in the sale of foods is takingplace throughout the region. As of 2003 supermarketchains controlled from 50 to 60% of all food sales in LAC,an extraordinary increase, considering that just 10 years agothey controlled 10 to 20%. Five corporations control 65%of these sales (Reardon et al., 2003).This rapid growth and consolidation of supermarkets


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 43has had important consequences for the structure of themarkets (Gutman, 2002), for small-scale producers (Ghezánet al., 2002; Gutman, 2002; Reardon and Berdegué, 2002;Schwentesius and Gómez, 2002) and for consumers (Vorley,2003). In Brazil, as new “retailers” with integrated operationsand new rules of participation expand they are displacingsmall and medium rural enterprises, which were playingan important role generating employment and diversifyingthe ways one could make a living in the Brazilian countryside(Farina et al., 2004). In addition, the new rules imposedby the supermarkets in Brazil with respect to the beef markethave ruined the small butcheries, merchants and truckdrivers who were involved in this market before (Farina etal., 2004). In Chile, the growth of the large supermarketchains has taken place at the expense of traditional foodoutlets. From 1991 to 1995, on average 22% of these traditionaloutlets disappeared (Faiguenbaum et al., 2002).The same trend has been documented for Argentina, CostaRica and Mexico (Nielsen, 1999; Alvarado and Charmel,2002; Gutman, 2002; Schwentesius and Gómez, 2002).The effect on small-scale producers has been equallydevastating. The supermarkets are seeking a limited numberof suppliers who can provide them with the volume andquantity of products they need. The supermarkets in LACpurchase 2.5 times more fresh produce (fruits and vegetables)from local producers than those which the region exports tothe rest of the world (Reardon and Berdegué, 2002). Withthe rapid growth of supermarkets and the consolidation ofthat sector, local producers are increasingly subject to therules established by a small group of transnational companies.It has been argued that for the fresh fruit and vegetablessector, the growing dominance of supermarkets mayhave a positive effect on producers and consumers, since thesupermarkets demand a higher-quality producer (Belsevichet al., 2003). Nonetheless, these same authors conclude thatthe general trend is to disfavor the small- and medium-scaleproducers, who lack the capital and credit needed to accommodateto the new demands of the market. The negativeimpact on small- and medium-scale producers has beendocumented for several countries of the region (Alvaradoand Charmel, 2002; Ghezán et al., 2002; Gutman, 2002;Schwentesius and Gómez, 2002).It is argued that on balance the growth of supermarketshas had a positive overall impact for consumers, thoughthere are not many studies on this (Rodríguez et al., 2002).It is assumed that supermarkets are more convenient andprovide greater diversity of products along with better-qualityproducts at a lower price. Nonetheless, as supermarketchains consolidate and the competition diminishes, thesebenefits will deteriorate, as with milk in some regions of theUnited States.The debate continues over the impacts of the majorconcentration of corporations in the food sector. There isalso a debate over whether the global dominance of supermarketchains is inevitable and over the possible impactsof standards and direct contracts between supermarketsand producers. Nonetheless, most of the studies in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean indicate that this concentrationand dominance in the food sales sector will have negativerepercussions for small- and medium-scale producers andeventually for consumers. Although these predictions arestill tentative, the evidence for this proposition continuesto accumulate.The transnational corporations continue their processof vertical and horizontal integration and continue penetratingfood chains in the region. Throughout the food chainthe inequality in power is greatest as between small-scaleproducers and the transnational corporations. To counterthat inequality, some producers have organized in associationsto increase their bargaining power over conditions andprices (Berdegué, 2001; Vorley, 2003). Yet Berdegué (2001)argues that these associations can only be beneficial whentransaction costs are high, as in the case of milk. But whentransaction costs are low, as it is in the case of grains andpotatoes, the benefit of producers’ associations is calledinto question. In the context of a globalized economy, thiskind of not-very-differentiated product makes all producersworldwide compete with one another for buyers. The developmentof cooperatives in the context of globalization andborders open to capital poses a major challenge to smallscaleproducers, since transnational agribusinesses can buytheir produce practically anywhere in the world.The concentration and consolidation of these agribusinesschains have increased the gap between the prices receivedby food producers and the prices paid by consumers(Vorley, 2003; see Box 1-10 on soybean in Brazil). Theseimpacts have repercussions throughout society, both ruraland urban and have effects beyond the economic effects relatedto the displacement of small-scale producers, job lossesand consumers’ ability to buy food. Food is one of the pillarsof any culture; how it is produced, distributed, preparedand shared with family and friends is part of what defines aculture and that pillar is quickly eroding with the expansionand concentration of transnational supermarket chains.This imbalance in power has led the global organization,Vía Campesina, to begin a campaign to remove agriculturefrom the WTO based on the argument that food isdifferent (Rosset, 2006). Consumers are playing an importantrole by demanding fair trade products, although theystill represent an insignificant percentage of food purchasesin the world. Another recent development is self-regulationin the corporate sector. Some corporations, in search of acompetitive margin over their competitors, are beginningself-regulation programs with respect to social responsibility.Nonetheless, despite all the publicity, very few corporationshave adopted the social responsibility agenda (Oxfam,2004). Finally, another possible way to control the impactsof the concentration of markets is to attack it directly.Considering the rapidity with which the concentrationof capital is taking place, monitoring the transnational corporationsshould be an urgent task (Vorley, 2003). Part ofthis work was done by the now-defunct United NationsCenter on Transnational Corporations. In addition, the civilsociety sector is working on this through organizations suchas Corporate Watch. Vorley (2003) argues that economicglobalization makes it necessary to improve global governanceon matters of monopoly and competition. Nowadays,there are no international standards for competitionto regulate the activities of corporations from one continentto another. The law on competition within the WTO movesaway from regulating monopolies, towards simplifying regulationsacross national borders to facilitate transnational


44 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportBox 1-10. Integration of the soybean food chain in Latin America: From the producers to the consumersOnly a small fraction of the soybean is consumed directly as foodfor humans; the rest is processed mainly to produce oil for thefood industry and as high-protein tablets for animal feed.In Brazil, it is estimated that the soybean crop employs onemillion persons directly and that the soybean industrial complexemploys some five million people.In the 1980s soybean production shifted from the south andsoutheastern regions, with small and medium producers (average30 hectares) to the region of Mato Grosso and Goiás, includingthe cerrado region, with an average farm size of 1,000 hectares.A single company, Andre Maggi, has 150,000 hectares andproduces one million tons of soybean per year. The consequenceof this concentration in farm size has led to an increase inrural unemployment and food insecurity, spurring migration tothe cities.The soybean market is characterized by a high degree of integration,as large corporations control the production, processing,and marketing, in both exporting and importing countries.The four corporations that dominate soybean market, Bunge,ADM, Cargill, and Dreyfus, also process soybeans. Cargill claimsto be the largest company worldwide engaged in the extractionof soybean oil. Cargill is also the largest exporter of vegetable oiland soy protein in Argentina. Dreyfus is the third leading companyin terms of volume that processes vegetable oil in South America,and is the owner of and operates the giant port on the Paranáriver and the giant company General Lagos crushing plant.Soybean feed “Bottleneck” from Brazil to Europe. Source: Vorley, 2003trade and access to the industrialized countries’ markets forgoods and services (Vorley, 2003).1.6.2.4 Sociocultural characteristicsThe agricultural sector in Latin America and the Caribbeanis made up of different systems of production (traditional/indigenous, conventional/productivist and agroecological)that differ markedly from one another, depending, amongother things, on working capital, quantity of assets, type ofland tenure, source of income, use of labor, destination ofproduction and especially their sociocultural characteristics.Indeed, each system is highly varied given the plurality ofagricultural structures in the region. This is why, in general,family farming is marked by a wide social heterogeneity;nonetheless, it also has some characteristic sociocultural elementsthat distinguish it from commercial agriculture (Ahumada,1996). For example, in family agriculture, the familylives on its farm, is at the core of all the activity and makesthe decisions in the productive system and how its productionis geared to meeting the needs of the family and themarket; it is producer and consumer. In addition, the familyis the source of labor for itself and for third persons.There are other sociocultural aspects that determinedifferences within this productive system and set it furtherapart from commercial agriculture. The family develops sociallyand economically in a milieu marked by geographicisolation distinct from the urban-industrial sector. Many ofits members have a common socio-historical developmentand families share traditions and customs that are determinantin their lives in terms of relationships and production.In this sociocultural setting tradition is the dominant institutionin relationships and exchanges. In that rural milieuthere is a close relationship between the degree of isolationand traditional patterns.These aspects define more family farming of the peasantand indigenous type, where the peasants constitute asubculture, but this peasant pattern in countries such asChile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay differs from that ofother regions of Latin America (Peru, Guatemala, Mexicoand Bolivia, among others), in which the indigenous culturalcharacteristic is even more determinant, in some cases to thepoint of having their own cultural traits (Rojas, 1986).Another fundamental element that identifies this systemsocioculturally is belonging to a local community in which


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 45the networks of interpersonal relationships are essential notonly for the economic strategies of the households and theirmembers, but also for other crucial aspects of human life,such as friendship, religion, leisure and sense of belonging.The members of a peasant or indigenous community sharetheir own sociocultural system in which beliefs and normscomplement institutional and social relationships and viceversa (Durston, 2002).In addition, in the micro, regional and national socialsystem, the peasant occupies one of the bottom rungs onthe social scale and therefore is subject to economic exploitationand social and political exclusion by the morepowerful groups (Wolf, 1971), phenomena that are generallymore intense when the peasants belong to ethnic groupswith a history of domination by others. Moreover, peasantfamilies have been diversifying their sources of subsistence,since scarcity of land, economic crisis and neoliberal policieshave led to a situation in which this sector can no longersupport itself solely from agricultural production. Theresponse has been to seek employment off the farm (bothmen and women) and to migrate to the cities or industrializedcountries (Deere, 2005), disarticulating rural communitiesand eroding the sociocultural cohesion of the ruralmilieu.When subsistence family-based agriculture directs itsproduction basically to the market, uses wage labor, hassome degree of productive specialization and has assets andcapacities that give it some potential for accumulation, it assumesa position of transition to commercial forms. In thistransition, externally strong pressures are brought to bearthat alter its traditional economic and sociocultural foundations.In this transition, some changes take place in familylife, some members of the family no longer participate inthe productive activity, but instead dedicate themselves tostudying or working in other independent activities, thereis a greater link to the urban culture and gradually the traditionalrural way of life is lost (Acosta and Rodríguez Fazzone,2005).In contrast, the commercial agricultural system considersonly the landowner as the agricultural entrepreneur andhis function is primarily to organize the productive processand connect the property to the markets for inputs, financing,goods and labor. In addition, the producer and his familydo not necessarily live on the property; most of theirsocial and cultural activities are tied to the urban milieu;the enterprise uses, as the main labor force, temporary and/or permanent labor; the size of the property is an importantfactor behind large productive surpluses; it uses a largeamount of technology; and production is for market. Thefurther it is from the characteristics of the family agriculturalsystem, such a system is considered more modern andcommercial and less traditional (Gómez, 2000).1.6.2.5 KnowledgeA retrospective evaluation and analysis of the current situationof the role of agricultural knowledge, science and technologyin the sustainable development of Latin America andthe Caribbean must acknowledge that there is a wealth inthe region beyond scientific knowledge as such. One must,therefore, reconstruct the historical-cultural diversity anddiversity of ways of knowing in the region and their influenceson the evolution of science, as a preamble to an approachto the role, for example, of colonialism and neocolonialism,ethnicity and the ignored racial and culturalcomplications of the region, vis-à-vis the new and imposingparadigms such as globalization or global interdependence.In this context, it is evident that the region is broken intocomplexities, different bodies, memories, languages, histories,diversities and world views (Leff and Carabias, 1993;Possey, 1999; Maffi, 2001; Toledo, 2001, 2003; Toledo etal., 2001). This fragmentation, from a less uniform perspective,is considered in contrast to the assumption of a regionseen from a reductionist perspective as a homogeneous massand that advances on a symmetric front towards one or anotherscenario.Recognizing the importance of historical-cultural diversityfor the purposes of gauging the role of knowledge,science and technology in the development policies of theregion will enable us to vindicate and value aspects such asthe experience of colonialism as a present and preponderantreality in Latin America. Colonialism in its diversity ofnature and time intrinsically exists in the region, not onlyas a territorial phenomenon, imposed and invasive, but alsoas a legacy, reflected in a colonial and neocolonial attitudethat predominates in many Latin American countries. Thiscolonial mentality is one of the reasons why Latin Americainvests less than the world average today in research anddevelopment and does not value the rich traditional/indigenousand local knowledge.Colonialism has to date resulted in the suppression oflocal knowledge and wisdom for almost half a century andits legacy permeates the AKST system, restricting its creativeand proactive use. The dominant AKST system hasoperated under the premise that scientific and technologicalspillover is the instrument that is going to best positionthe region and offer comparative advantages in today’sinterdependent world. Yet on the other hand, AmartyaSen (2004, 2006) suggests the contrary effect of a colonialmentality rejecting western ideas. Sen argues that rejectingthe globalization of ideas and practices because of the supposedthreat of westernization is a mistaken approach thathas played a regressive role in the colonial and neocolonialworld. As he sees it, this rejection fosters parochial trendswhich, given global interactions, is not only counterproductive,but can cause non-western societies to place limits onthemselves and may even torpedo the valuable resources thattheir own cultures and wisdom represent. It should be notedthat for the indigenous peoples globalization (understood asthe Euro-American colonial expansion and domination) isnot new. Several studies by Lumbreras (1991), Grillo (1998),Lander (2000) and Quijano (2000) illustrate how the indigenouspeoples of LAC engaged in a dialogue with the colonialworld.Less in the realm of philosophy and more in that ofepistemology, one can argue that LAC, even though it is aregion with extraordinary resources in terms of world views,knowledge, wisdom and cultures has not taken advantageof the synergies that could be derived from the interactionbetween scientific knowledge and traditional/local knowledgeand wisdom. This challenge puts forth, to the AKST


46 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportsystem, another type of paradigm, as an alternative to thecurrent dominant one, in addition to considering other structural(for example, land tenure), cultural and interculturalfactors.In terms of exclusively scientific knowledge, LatinAmerica and the Caribbean is the region that invests theleast in research and development in relation to the rest ofthe world. In the agricultural sector, the region invests only0.3% of gross domestic product, whereas the rest of theworld invests 0.5%. The countries that invest most in researchand development in the region (Argentina, Mexico,Costa Rica, Brazil and Chile) do so at levels very far belowthe developing countries that are prototypes in terms of returnson research and development, such as China, India,Korea, South Africa, Singapore and Israel, among others.Knowledge, culture and agricultural development. In LAC,the “other ecologies” (Toledo and Castillo, 1999) and theirrespective systems of agricultural knowledge are as diverseas the rich and diverse cultures of the region (Deruyttere,1997; Altieri, 1999). For example, the indigenous populationis made up of more than 400 ethnic groups (Deruyttere,1997), or 800 cultural groups (Toledo, 2007).In general, agricultural knowledge in the region is associatedwith the three types of agricultural productionsystems described in this document: the conventional/productivistsystem, the agroecological system and the traditional/indigenoussystem (including peasant agriculture).Historically, indigenous forms of agriculture (hunting, fishing,gathering, domestication and cultivation of plants andanimals) not only precede the other two, but are the result ofan intimate and sophisticated interaction and co-evolutionwith nature in general and in particular with a significantnumber of plants and animals (Fowler and Mooney, 1990;Valladolid 1998, 2001; Altieri, 1999; Barkin, 2005; Narby,2007). These interactions gave way to what today areknown as centers of origin of native crops (Diversity, 1991).Traditional/indigenous knowledge is very valuable for thepeople of the region for three reasons: First, it contributesto the cultural affirmation of the indigenous people and isuseful for learning about nature and its resources, includingsources of food, medicines, forage, building materialsand tools, among other things (Toledo, 2005). For example,the Tzeltal of Mexico can recognize more than 1,200 plantspecies, whereas the P’urepecha recognize more than 900species and the Maya of the Yucatan approximately 500species (Toledo et al., 1985). Second, this knowledge resultsfrom the experience accumulated and shared by many menand women over thousands of years. And third, knowledgeis also wisdom, as it is closely linked to the identity, values,beliefs, traditions and ideals of individuals and communities.Nonetheless, it is also important to recognize that traditionalknowledge and local knowledge have weaknesses. Forexample, often this knowledge and wisdom is not found inbooks and may be lost if not transmitted from generation togeneration. Traditional knowledge is also limited to a localityor region and is not easily transferable to other regionswith different conditions. Finally, many natural phenomenacannot be perceived through feelings without the help oftechnologies, for example, microorganisms, biochemicalprocesses and the DNA molecule (Toledo, 2005). Moreover,from the standpoint of indigenous experience, traditional/indigenous knowledge and wisdom are not necessarily limitedby what one can see, hear, touch or feel. For example,anthropologist Jeremy Narby (2007) notes that a good partof the extraordinary knowledge of Amazonian plant lifecomes through supra-conscious/extrasensory states duringceremonies and rituals, such as those performed by the shamansof the Amazonian indigenous peoples. In his view, aprocess of affirmation, cultural regeneration and interculturalexchange could help recover the potential of combiningthe physical and the metaphysical (Narby and Huxley,2004; Narby, 2007).Colonial and neocolonial agriculture in the region isbased on (1) the exploitation of the plants, animals, peoplesand indigenous knowledge and wisdom native to the region,(2) the usurpation and violent or non-violent expropriationof lands and territories that belonged to the hundreds ofindigenous peoples and (3) the exclusion of the local peasant-indigenousand agroecological knowledge and AKSTsystems (Crosby, 1991, 2004; Lumbreras, 1991). One mightsuggest that parallel to the growth of modern homogenizingagriculture, peasant-indigenous and local forms of agriculturehave tended to diminish. This is summarized, for theTable 1-10. The reduction/disappearance of the home place: Area under the control of indigenouspeople of Mexico and Central America.CountryMéxicoGuatemalaBeliceHondurasEl SalvadorNicaraguaCosta RicaPanamaNational area(Has)195,820,00010,899,0002,296,55011,209,0002,104,10013,000,0005,110,0007,551,700Area under indigenous people control(Ha) %29,399,430N/AN/A16,181Not studied5,900,000320,3211,657,10015N/AN/A14Not studied45.36.22.2Source: Toledo et al., 2001.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 47Figure 1-10. The dominant productivist/conventional vision for agriculture andconservation, from top to bottom. Source: Elaborated by T. Gonzales based on Pimbert,1994; Gonzales, 1996, 1999, 2009; Escobar, 1998b, 1999region, in the growth of the space in the face of the reductionof place, i.e., of the local world (see Table 1-10). “Place”—which is where the local, peasant-indigenous languages, cultures,rituals, knowledge and wisdom and AKST systemsare, with all of life, for the last 60 years, in particular—hasbeen eroding significantly due to the policies that accordpriority to the growth of the homogenizing space relatedto modern single-crop agriculture (Blazer, 2004; Gonzales,2009).In the last 60 years modern agriculture and as a resultthe system of agricultural education, research and extensionwork was strongly emphasized by agricultural developmentpolicies. This conventional/productivist agricultureis based on the mechanistic scientific outlook that arosein western Europe (Figure 1-10). Eurocentrism, 7 in for-7Eurocentrism “is the imaginative and institutional contextthat informs contemporary scholarship, opinion and law.As a theory, it postulates the superiority of Europeans overmal education generally and in agricultural education inparticular, has contributed crucially to the dissemination andgrowing dominance of the mechanistic outlook (Rengifo,1998; Bowers, 2002). Basic scientific knowledge on and formanipulating agriculture has been and is being generatednon-Europeans. It is constructed on a set of assumptions andbeliefs generally accepted without prejudices by educatedEuropeans and North Americans who commonly accept themas the truth, as supported by “the facts” or as “reality.” Akey concept behind Eurocentrism is the idea of diffusionism.Diffusionism is based on two assumptions: (1) most communitiesare hardly inventive and (2) a few human communities (orplaces, or cultures) are inventive and are, accordingly, the permanentcenters of cultural change or “progress.” On a globalscale, this results in a world with a single center—Europe—and a periphery that surrounds it” (Battiste and YoungbloodHenderson, 2000). For further thoughts, see Lander (2000),Quijano (2000).


48 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportmainly at the dominant centers that generate knowledge (international/regionalresearch centers/institutes, universities)around the world. These centers have embraced and workedto sustain and promote the mechanistic models, theories,paradigms and world view associated with the reductionistsystem of conventional/productivist agricultural researchand production (De Souza Silva et al., 2005). This worldview and corresponding paradigms are still a key componentof a transnational network made up of academic centers(Bowers, 2002; Smith, 2002; Progler, 2005; Pimbert,2006), representatives of governments, think tanks, thebusiness sector, international organizations and developmentfinancing agencies (Escobar, 1999; Gonzales, 2007)(Figure 1-10).The political leadership, policy makers and civil societygenerally have also been permeated by the knowledge producedby the mechanistic western paradigm/world view andhave become its practitioners.A well-articulated and well-financed transnational networkof scientific institutions has generated, fed into andprovided feedback to the conventional/productivist systemfor the production of agricultural knowledge. The environmentaland sustainability problems associated with thesystem are derived from this reductionist knowledge base.(Figure 1-11).The agro-industrial project that emerges from the dominantAKST system proposes that the indigenous/peasantcommunities should modernize and progress by means oftechnology, machines and scientific knowledge, as well asby entering the market. This agro-industrial proposal seeksto have the agroecosystem simplified and specialized to increaselabor efficiency (Toledo, 2005).Agroecology proposes modernization by way of pathdifferent from that of agroindustry. It proposes a form ofdevelopment based on respect for the environment (theMother Earth, for the indigenous peoples), as well as thetraditions, culture and history of the people. The agroecologicalproposal recognizes the need for scientific and technologicalresearch, yet unlike the agroindustrial proposal,it suggests a dialogue of different ways of knowing basedon a respectful exchange among the researchers or technicalpersonnel and the peasant and indigenous communities(Toledo, 2005). Ishizawa (2006) and Machaca (1996, 1998)propose a dialogue of ways of knowing from a perspectiveof cultural affirmation and decolonization, while at the sametime suggesting the challenge posed by the world views forthe dialogue.The dominant society in general and the dominant policiesand AKST system in particular, have contributed to themarginalization or exclusion of the cultures, world views,systems of knowledge, and ways of knowing and beinglinked to the peasant-indigenous and agroecological productionsystems. Several studies conclude that these two systemshave a potential that has yet to be tapped or fully recognized(Altieri, 1987, 1996; Chambi and Chambi, 1995; Machaca1996, 1998; Rosset, 1999; Toledo, 2005), or integrated tothe region’s AKST system. Nonetheless, agricultural movementsproposing alternatives to conventional/productivistagriculture and/or decolonization and cultural affirmationsuggest the potential of such alternative ways of knowingand AKST systems for making a significant contribution toattaining sustainable development objectives (Altieri, 1987,1996; Grillo, 1998; Rengifo, 1998; Valladolid, 1998, 2001;Delgado and Ponce, 1999; Huizer, 1999; Rist et al., 1999;Toledo, 2001, 2003; Funes et al., 2001; Toledo et al., 2001;Barkin, 2005; Ishizawa, 2006; Badgley et al., 2007). Thissituation creates an opportunity in the region for a new,inclusive AKST policy, one which incorporates, on its ownterms, the peasant-indigenous and agroecological systems ofknowledge and wisdom (Leff and Carabias, 1993).1.6.2.6 Gender aspectsThe main trends associated with the neoliberal restructuringand the increase in rural poverty in LAC include greater participationof women in agriculture, both as producers andas wage workers in the agricultural sector (Deere, 2005). Asthe participation of men in agriculture diminishes, the roleof women in agricultural production increases. Male migrationis one of the main motives for the increase in women’sparticipation in the rural economy. The expansion of nontraditionalexport crops, wars, violence and forced displacementsare other causes of the so-called “feminization of agriculture,”and with it, the feminization of poverty.The increase in women’s participation in wage laborin the agricultural sector is closely related to the expansionof non-traditional export crops (Robles, 2000; Chant andCraske, 2003; Deere, 2005). In particular, women play apredominant role in labor activities such as packing flowers(e.g., in Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia), fruits (e.g., inMexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile) and fresh vegetables(e.g., in Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil) for export to NorthAmerica (Deere, 2005). In addition, a large proportionof women and their children (50%) provide labor in thefields where these crops are produced (Deere, 2005). Theflower sector has the largest percentage of female workersof the non-traditional crops. In Mexico and Colombia it isestimated that 60 to 80% of the labor force in this sectoris made up of women (Lara, 1992; Becerril, 1995; Meier,1999). This work is mostly seasonal, lacks security and ismarked by precarious working conditions and discrimination(Lara, 1995, 1998; Barndt, 2002). There is also persistentincome inequality between male and female workers, aswell as between white workers and those belonging to otherethnic minorities. The increase in the use of women as wageworkers in agriculture is not a uniform trend throughoutthe region and is very much associated with non-traditionalexport crops. Several studies on the participation of womenin wage labor show that in many countries of the regiona much higher proportion of women work in the non-agriculturalsector, such as in the maquiladoras, as domesticservants and in the industrial sector (Reardon et al., 2001;Katz, 2003). For example, in the Dominican Republic andPanama, 92% of economically active rural women work inthe non-agricultural sector (Katz, 2003).The literature includes a debate over whether this typeof work represents greater exploitation of female labor or,to the contrary, is potentially liberating for women. In relationto this debate, Safa (1995) emphasizes the complexityand at times contradiction in the relationship between wagelabor (and the discrimination, exploitation and precariousworking conditions this often represents) and greater accessto and control of the salary, greater purchasing power,


Figure 1-11. Two contemporary views of the world. Source: Gonzales, 1999; Gonzales et al.,1999.Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 49


50 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportchanges in gender relations (which tend to favor women)and greater awareness of women’s subordination to men.The other important trend in LAC, especially in the indigenous/peasantsector of agriculture, is the incorporationof women as the main producer (Preibisch et al., 2002). This“feminization of agriculture” is occurring in some countriesmore than in others and is directly tied to the increase inthe migration of men, the search for jobs off the farm andthe diminishing viability of traditional/peasant agricultureunder neoliberalism (Chiriboga et al., 1996; Preibisch et al.,2002). For example, Mexico, the country with the largestmigration of men to the United States, is also one of those inwhich the feminization of agriculture is most evident (Robles,2000).The incorporation of the indigenous/peasant sector inthe production of non-traditional export crops has also resultedfrom an intensification of the role of women in agriculture(Deere, 2005). Guatemala and Chile are the twocountries where this incorporation was most successful,even if it was ephemeral (Murray, 2003). Here too thereis a debate on the impact of that greater participation onwomen. On the one hand, studies by Dary (1991) andBlumberg (1994) conclude that the incorporation of peasantwomen into the production of agroexport crops had a negativeimpact on women because it reduced the time availablefor their own independent activities, reduced their power tobargain within the family and increased their dependence onmen. On the other hand, the studies by Katz (2003), Hamiltonet al. (2001) and Hamilton and Fischer (2003) concludethat women (in Guatemala) gained more decision-makingpower over productive activities.Whether as wage workers in the agricultural sector oras producers directly, there is no doubt but that the roleof women in agriculture in LAC has been expanding. Thisfeminization of agriculture is linked to the decline of agricultureas the main economic activity of peasant families and tothe greater absence of men due to migration or wage workaway from the farm. As traditional agriculture becomes everless viable, production is turning more to food security forthe family and women are taking on a more important role(Deere, 2005).1.7 Performance of Production SystemsThis subchapter presents an evaluation of the three mainsystems of production in the region: traditional/indigenous,conventional/productivist and agroecological. This evaluationincludes an assessment of the performance of thesesystems in terms of several indicators, such as productivity,sustainability and quality of food. In addition, this subchapterincludes an assessment of the environmental, social, economicand health impacts of the three systems.1.7.1 ProductivityProductivity is defined as an average quantity of output dividedby a measure of the quantity of input. The economicconcept of agricultural productivity is an evaluation of theproduction of a crop (i.e., yield) and its market value, sothat one can estimate its profitability (i.e., profit). Agriculturaleconomists often use a partial measure of productivitybased on an area of land and/or labor. Nonetheless, formany farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean, especiallythose who produce for family consumption, or thosewho have systems using low levels of external inputs, theconcept of productivity is much broader. For these producers,a productive farm is that which provides the largestamount of resources needed for the survival of the producerand his or her family. This may include foods, fuel, fiberand medicinal plants, among others. Unfortunately, thereare very few studies that consider these factors; most existingstatistics report only productivity per unit of land andper unit of labor.Traditional/indigenous system. What is frequently knownas agricultura campesina or peasant agriculture and whichin this evaluation we call the traditional/indigenous system,consists of several traditional systems that predominatein many rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean(Ortega 1986), but which are being threatened by neoliberalpolicies (Davis et al., 2001; Deere, 2005) among otherfactors. These systems, in their traditional form, have beenrefined over many generations and much accumulatedknowledge. The marginalization and displacement of producersfrom their ancestral lands contributes to their beingcharacterized as having low or moderate productivity.Nonetheless, there are traditional systems that have highproductivity, in some cases higher than the conventional/productivist system (Altieri, 1999). For example, in the1950s Sanders (1957) estimated that maize production inthe chinampas, a traditional system in Mexico, yielded 3.5to 6.3 tonnes per hectare. That same year, the yield of maizein the United States was 2.6 tonnes per hectare and it wasnot until 1965 that it reached 4 tonnes per ha (USDA, 1972,as cited in Altieri, 1999). In the 1990s the average yield ofmaize in LAC was only 2.56 tonnes per hectare and thecountries with the highest yields were Argentina and Chile,with 4.35 and 8.49 tonnes per hectare respectively (Morrisand López-Pereira, 1999). In the Amazon, traditional systemssuch as that of the Kayapó have yields that surpasscolonos’ yields by 200% and the yields of livestock productionby 175% (Hecht, 1984).One characteristic of the traditional systems is theirhigh agrobiodiversity (Toledo, 2007). Multicrop systemsand agroforestry systems are common in this type of agriculture(Clauson, 1985; Thrupp, 1998). In LAC, most of thesubsistence crops are produced in multicrop situations. Forexample, it is estimated that 40% of the cassava, 60% of themaize and 80% of the beans are produced in combinationwith other crops (Francis, 1986). This is an important factorwhen comparing yields because these comparisons arenormally by crop, which means that often the yield of othercrops grown on the same plot is not taken into account. Themulticrop systems developed by traditional and/or indigenousproducers are 20 to 60% more productive (in termsof harvestable product) than monoculture systems (Beets,1982). For example, in Mexico, 1.7 ha planted in maize inmonoculture is needed to produce the same amount of foodas one hectare planted in maize, squash and bean produces(Gliessman, 1998). In Brazil, multicrops of maize and beanhave a 28% advantage over monocultures; under more aridconditions the multicrops of sorghum and cowpea produce25 to 58% more than the monocultures (Altieri, 1999). Theliterature that shows the advantages of multicrops on yield


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 51is substantial and dates back to the 1970s (Trenbath, 1976;Beets, 1982; Francis, 1986; Vandermeer, 1989). Among thefacts that have been identified as responsible for these advantagesare the more efficient use of resources (nutrientsand water) and the reduction in the incidence of pests andweeds (Vandermeer, 1989; Gliessman, 1998). The greatestadvantages of multicropping are obtained when gramineousand leguminous species are combined, as these two plantgroups tend to complement one another very well (Vandermeer1989). Other combinations may not be as advantageousfrom the standpoint of yields (Vandermeer, 1989).Producers who practice multicropping have multiplesurvival strategies and combine subsistence agriculture withcommercial activities and wage labor (Ewell and Merrill-Sands, 1987; Barrera-Bassols and Toledo, 2005; Deere,2005). Despite the trends towards intensification of agriculturein LAC, traditional/indigenous agriculture is still practicedby millions of producers. As of 1980 such systems ofproduction were found in 16 million productive units andused 160 million ha, involving some 75 million people, i.e.,almost two-thirds of the rural population of LAC (Ortega,1986). In the 1980s this sector produced 41% of the foodfor domestic consumption and was responsible for producing51% of the maize, 77% of the beans and 61% of thepotatoes (Posner and McPherson, 1982; Altieri, 1993). Dueto neoliberal policies, this sector has been weakened and itis possible that today it accounts for a lower percentage ofdomestic food production (David et al., 2001).The traditional/indigenous system is also characterizedby favorable rates of output per unit of energy input. Forexample in slash-and-burn systems (swidden agriculture),which depend on manual labor in the mountains of Mexico,estimated yields were 1,940 kg per ha, with a rate of energyefficiency (unit output per unit input) of 10:1 (Pimentel andPimentel, 1979; Altieri, 1999). In Guatemala a similar systemgenerated a rate of energy efficiency of 4.8:1 and whenone adds fertilizer and pesticides, the yields increase (from 5to 7 tonnes per ha), but energy efficiency drops to less than2.5:1 (Altieri, 1999) (Figure 1-12).Conventional/productivist agriculture. The emphasis of theconventional/productivist system has been on maximizingproductivity and profit. In this regard, there is no doubt butthat the conventional/productivist system has been a successfor those producers who have enough capital to implementit. This system has been extending throughout the region,as the AKST system has assigned it high priority. For example,the hybrid varieties of maize developed by CIMMYTin Mexico were planted on 10.6 million ha, accounting formore than 36% of the total area planted in maize throughoutthe region; more than 74% was planted with some hybridvariety (Morris and López-Pereira, 1999). It’s hard toknow how much of this was produced under the conventional/productivistsystem, since many producers, who usethe traditional system, also incorporate hybrid varieties.The main objective of the Green Revolution was to increasethe yields of the main food crops per unit of area.Contrary to the perception that the Green Revolutionbrought about a sharp increase in yields in the late 1960s,Evenson and Gollin (2003) argue that the Green Revolutionhas taken place in the long run, through the successivedevelopment of improved varieties. These authors dividethe Green Revolution into two stages, early (1961-1980)and late (1981-2000) and argue that in the developingcountries, including LAC, improved varieties contributeto a 17% increase in yields, while in a later period thesevarieties contributed to 50% of the increase in yields. Notwithstandingthese figures, the rate of increase in yield hasbeen diminishing in the last 10 years (Evenson and Gollin,2003). The advocates of biotechnology argue that the onlyway to continue to increase yields is by the use of transgeniccrops, which have been called “the new Green Revolution”Figure 1-12. Energetic efficiency of different production systems. Source: Authors’ elaboration basedon data from: Atkins, 1979; Pimentel, 1980; Pimentel et al., 1983; Reganold, 2001.


52 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Report(Smil, 2000; Trewavas, 2002). By way of contrast, the criticsof conventional/productivist agriculture argue that it ispossible to attain levels of production equal to those of conventionalagriculture and in some cases higher, using agroecologicalpractices and without transgenics (Pretty, 2002;Halberg et al., 2005; Badgley et al., 2007).Based strictly on measures of yield (production per unitof area of a single crop), many economists and agronomistsconclude that the conventional/productivist system hasgreater productivity. Nonetheless, many small-scale producerspractice multicropping. Peter Rosset (1999), analyzingdata from several countries, concluded that the small propertiesalmost always produce more per unit of area thanlarge ones. Indeed, “the inverse relationship between farmsize and productivity,” is widely accepted by agriculturaleconomists, though there is a major debate over the causalmechanism (Yotopoulos and Lau, 1971; Bardhan, 1973;Sen, 1975; Berry and Cline, 1979; De Janvry, 1981; Carter,1984; Feder, 1984; Assunção and Ghatak, 2003). The conventional/productivistsystem is less energy efficient than thetraditional/indigenous systems and in most cases than agroecological/organicsystems (Figure 1-12).Agroecological system. This type of agriculture encompassesa wide array of systems, practices and methods that useagroecological principles to design and manage productionsystems. For the purpose of this evaluation we are includingorganic systems. Nonetheless, most agroecologists arguethat organic systems are not necessarily agroecological. Forexample, the production of organic bananas in some partsof Central America and Ecuador, which consists of largeexpanses of monoculture and which are certified organic arenot agroecological systems. Many small producers in LACare adopting agroecological practices, but either becausetheir production is not for the market or due to lack of resourcesto pay the certifying authorities, do not certify theirproduction. In the last 20 years the agroecology movementhas grown enormously worldwide and particularly in LAC.A recent study reports 286 projects with agroecological interventionsthat include 12.6 million producers on approximately37 million ha, or the equivalent of 3% of the landin non-industrialized countries (Pretty et al., 2006). IFOAMestimates that almost 20% of all land and 28% of all farmswith organic certification worldwide are in LAC (Willer andJussefi, 2007) (Box 1-11), though this is largely due to extensiveorganic livestock systems, especially in Argentina,which has three million ha certified organic. Mexico is thecountry with the largest number of organic farms in theworld, with more than 85,000 farms in organic management.It is estimated that in LAC there are some 5.8 millionha certified organic, with an annual value of US$100 million(Lernoud, 2007). Cuba is the only country in the world thatis carrying out a massive conversion to organic agriculture,through the promotion of agroecological practices in bothrural and urban areas (Box 1-12). In contrast to the othercountries in LAC where organic production is for the exportmarket, in Cuba organic production, with some exceptions,is not certified and is for domestic consumption.It is frequently stated that organic agriculture, becauseof its lower yields, will not be able to supply enough foodto feed the world. To address this question a study from theBox 1-11. Trends in organic agriculture in LatinAmerica and the CaribbeanOrganic agriculture has seen enormous growth in the last 10years in Latin America and the Caribbean, geared mainly tothe export market and focused on just a few crops, mainly coffeeand bananas in Central America and the Andean region,sugar in Paraguay, and cereal grains and meat in Argentinaand Uruguay. Other products are certified at low levels, suchas fruits, vegetables, aromatic and medicinal herbs, and apiculture.Today there are 5.8 million hectares certified organic,and almost all the countries of the region have an organic sector,though the development of this sector has been mixed.The countries with the largest areas certified are Argentina(54%), Brazil (15%), Uruguay (13%), Bolivia (6%), and Mexico(5%). The largest share of the almost 3.9 million hectares certifiedin Argentina and Uruguay are lands used for extensivegrazing.Areas in organic production in Latin America andthe CaribbeanIn general the organic movement in LAC has grown by its ownefforts and with very little government support. With the exceptionof Cuba, no government provides direct subsidies oreconomic aid for organic production. Nonetheless, in somecountries the state is supporting the organic sector in severalways. For example:• Brazil: The government announced the interagencyPlan Pro Orgánico, providing incentives for research onorganic production, forming associations, and stimulatingthe market for organic products.• Costa Rica: Government funds for research and teachingin organic production.• Argentina and Chile: The government export agenciessupport the organic producers’ participation in internationalshows and print catalogs of organic products.• Mexico: There is growing interest on the part of governmentagencies.University of Michigan compiled results from almost 300studies worldwide comparing yields of organic and conventionalsystems (Badgley et al., 2007). Based on the evidencethe authors concluded that organic agriculture could produceenough food, on a per capita basis, to provide 2,640to 4,380 kilocalories per person per day depending on themodel used. They also found that in developing countries,where organic systems were compared to the commonlypracticed agriculture, organic farms outperformed conventionalpractices by 57%, demonstrating that intensificationusing organic methods is possible.Another study, by the University of Essex in England,carried out a census of 286 projects in 57 countries, including45 in Latin America and the Caribbean (Pretty et al.,2003, 2006). When the yields on farmland using agroeco-


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 53Box 1-12. Sustainable agriculture and food security in Cuba: Lessons for the rest of Latin America and the CaribbeanIn 1989-1990, the collapse of trade relations between Cuba andthe Soviet bloc plunged this small Caribbean nation into an economicand food crisis. Today Cuba has succeeded in overcomingthat crisis and its experience illustrates that it is possible to feed anation with a model based on small and medium producers, andecological technology with low external inputs.The Cuban agricultural system was based on the conventional/productivistmodel of agriculture, highly dependent on externalinputs (chemical fertilizers, pesticides, oil, machinery, etc.),as well as large and inefficient state farms. With the change in thefavorable terms of trade Cuba had enjoyed with the other socialistcountries, there was an almost immediate 53 percent reductionin oil imports, a 50 percent reduction in imports of wheat andother cereal grains for human and animal consumption, and an 80percent reduction in fertilizer and pesticide imports.Suddenly, a country with high levels of inputs in its agriculturalsector was submerged in a food crisis. It is estimated that as ofthe early 1990s, the daily average consumption of calories andproteins of the Cuban population had fallen to levels 30 percentbelow those of the 1980s.Fortunately, for years Cuba had invested in the developmentof its human resources and had a highly educated population, aswell as scientists and researchers who were mobilized to providealternatives for the country’s agricultural production and food security.The alternative model adopted rests on four pillars:1. Agroecological technology and diversification instead ofchemical inputs and homogenization. Among the practicessuccessfully used are:• Diversification of production and of the farm, by intercalatedcrops, associated crops, multicropping, andagroforestry.• Biopesticides (microbial products), locally produced naturalenemies, and multicropping to control pests; resistantvarieties, crop rotation, and microbial antagonists to controlpathogens; rotation and cover (living or dead) for weedmanagement.• Biofertilizers (e.g., Azotobacter, Azosprillum), increase inpopulations of mycorrhyzogenic fungi, use of microorganismsthat make phosphorus soluble, manure, compost,and earthworm humus, green fertilizers, natural zeolites,and minimum tillage for agroecological soil management.• Integration of stock-raising and crop-farming for betteruse of the energy byproducts generated by both sectors.• Use of draft animals to replace tractors, which use fossilfuels.2. Fair prices for farmers. Cuban farmers increased productionin response to the high prices farm products fetch.Through other programs and policies to bolster food security,the government is seeing to it that the population ingeneral, and the urban population in particular, has accessto food despite the high prices.3. Redistribution of the land. The main redistribution of landin Cuba consisted of dividing up large state properties intosmaller units. The arable area in the hands of the state droppedfrom more than 75 percent in 1992 to less than 33 percent in1996. The small farmers and urban horticulturalists have beenthe most productive of all the Cuban producers under lowinputconditions.4. Major emphasis on local production, including urbanagriculture. The food produced locally and regionally offersgreater food security, since the population does notdepend on the caprices of prices in the world economy,transportation over long distances, or the good will ofother countries. Production is also more energy-efficientsince so much energy is no longer consumed in transportation.Finally, in Cuba, urban and peri-urban agriculturehas been an important component of the strategy of supportinglocal food production.Cuba’s situation is very particular and it cannot be indiscriminatelyapplied to other countries. Nonetheless, Cuba offers us a specificexample of a country that was able to transform its agriculturetowards a more sustainable agriculture. The most important lessonof this example is that agroecological practices, along withfair prices for producers, agrarian reform, and local production,including urban agriculture, can make a significant contribution tofood security and to improving the standard of living of both urbanand rural small-scale producers.logical or organic methods are compared, the authors foundthat the farms with agroecological agriculture produce thesame and in most cases significantly more than those landsin conventional production. This type of agriculture is benefiting,in particular, peasants and small-scale producers. Approximatelyhalf of the producers interviewed had less thanone hectare and 90% had farms with less than two hectares.The result is an increase in food consumption of the familyunit and greater production, allowing the peasant/producerto consume and market a variety of products. Pretty et al.(2006) estimated an increase in food production of 79% perhectare. These results have been confirmed by other recentstudies (see for example Parrott and Marsden, 2002; Pimentelet al., 2005; Halberg et al., 2006; FAO, 2007; Kilcher,2007).Recent studies suggest that agriculture based on agroecologicalprinciples is not only feasible for a niche market(such as products certified to be organic) but also offers areal alternative to meet food needs globally, without havingto convert natural habitats to agriculture, using 30%less energy, less water and no agrochemicals (Pretty, 2002;Halberg et al., 2005; Pimentel, 2005; Badgley et al., 2007;


54 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportFAO, 2007). Yet even more important for the purposes ofthis evaluation, agroecological and “knowledge-intensive”agriculture offers the peasants and small-scale producers ofLAC an alternative for the production not only of food, butof culture and human and social capital (Zinin et al., 2000;Pretty et al., 2003). Agroecological experiences in the regionprovide evidence of the potential of ecological agricultureto pull peasants out of poverty, strengthen social relations,eliminate dependency on outside inputs and knowledge andstrengthen the connection with their environment. A recentreport by the FAO (2007) that came out of the FAO-sponsoredconference Organic Agriculture and Food Security in2007, concludes that organic systems have a great potentialto increase food access, reduce risk and build long-term investmentthat increase food security, all of which directlyaddress development and sustainability goals. It also statesthat when total household yield and nutritional and environmentalimpacts are measured along with the cost-effectivenessof production, as well as energy efficiency, organicsystems are superior to conventional systems.Since the early 1990s, organic agriculture has experienceda leap in demand, which has induced a spectacularincrease, representing one the areas of agriculture with thegreatest commercial potential (Box 1-11).1.7.2 Sustainability1.7.2.1 Traditional/indigenous systemThe sustainability of an agricultural system has to do withobtaining the best possible result without compromising theresource base looking to the future. The concept of sustainableagriculture integrates goals such as protecting the environment,profitability or productivity and maintenance ofrural communities (Altieri, 1995). For a long time, anthropologistsand ecologists have recognized the sustainabilityfeatures of indigenous/traditional systems and these systemshave been the basis of knowledge for the development ofmodern agroecology (Steward 1955; Netting, 1974; Altieri,1995). Several specific aspects of traditional and indigenousagricultural systems tend to make them more sustainableand conducive to conserving biodiversity on and aroundfarms. Traditional farmers have generally relied on a mosaicof fields, pasture and forests to provide the full range oftheir subsistence needs, which produces a variety of habitatfor wild biodiversity (Altieri, 1995; McNeely and Scherr,2003). Agricultural diversity is greater, thus providing differenthabitat options to biodiversity: more types of cropstend to be grown and several crops may be grown together,or intercropped. Trees are often left standing in some agriculturalfields or pastures. Cultivation is usually less intensiveand, in the case of the swidden agricultural systems typical ofindigenous cultivation in the humid tropics in Latin America,fields are allowed to return to secondary vegetation fora considerable period after a few years of cultivation. Thepatchwork of land uses and in some cases use of intercropping,reduces erosion and thus sedimentation of streamsand rivers. And because these farming systems use fewer orno agricultural chemicals, they also cause less pollution.Although these traditional systems maintained and stillmaintain hundreds of generations of farmers, some (suchas the chinampas in Mexico and the camellones elevados inLake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia) were not able to surviveand others are in the process of disappearing due to social,economic and political pressures (Denevan 1980; Turnerand Harrison, 1983; Wilken, 1987). As the crisis of rurallivelihoods advances, these systems gradually disappear andwith them the genetic resources and knowledge and wisdomthat evolved over millennia.1.7.2.2 Conventional/productivist systemThe greatest criticism of the conventional/productivist systemis that it is not environmentally sustainable. The adventof high-input agriculture has led to a simplification andhomogenization of the system, which results in the loss ofplanned biodiversity (in other words, the diversity of cropsand other productive organisms such as honey bees, fish forfood and others). The reduction of planned diversity resultsin a diminution of the associated diversity (that is, all theother organisms that live in that agroecosystem). The loss ofbiodiversity has negative consequences for the sustainabilityof the agroecosystem, as it has a direct impact on ecologicalprocesses as well as on the environmental services providedby ecosystems (Naeem et al., 1994; Altieri, 1995; Tilmanet al., 1996; Matson et al., 1997; Yachi and Loreau, 1999;Reganold et al., 2001). Some of the ecosystem services thatare degraded by modern production practices are essentialto the viability and sustainability of the agricultural systemsthemselves (McNeely and Scherr, 2002). Soil fertility is aprime example. There is increasing evidence that the richand complex below-ground ecosystems of bacteria, fungi,protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, earthworms and otherorganisms play a critical role in creating and maintainingthe soil conditions that are optimal for agricultural production(Buck et al., 2004). Production practices used inthe conventional/productivist system, which are dependenton chemical inputs and mechanical manipulation of soils,can have devastating effects on these important but littleunderstoodecosystems. Erosion caused by tillage and otherproduction practices, such as leaving bare soil exposed betweenplanting seasons, has also gravely affected soil fertility(Buck et al., 2004).Pollination is another key ecosystem service that canbe seriously degraded in intensive agricultural landscapes.Studies in Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina have shown thatmore pollinators are found in agricultural fields adjacent toforest fragments or remnants of native vegetation and thatmore pollen deposition actually occurs in those sites (DeMarco and Monteiro Coelho, 2004; Ricketts et al., 2004;Chacoff and Marcelo, 2006). Also systems that are morediverse and harbor high levels of bee species increase pollinationservices (Klein et al., 2003; Steffan-Dewenter et al.,2005). Finally, it is also clear that use of agrochemicals canreduce the number of beneficial organisms available both forpollination and for control of crop pests (Buck et al., 2004).The use of pesticides in conventional/productivist agriculturehas also had a negative impact on the other beneficialfauna, such as natural enemies (predators, parasitoidsand others), stimulating the evolution of resistance in pests,the resurgence of primary pests and outbreaks of secondarypests (Nicholls and Altieri, 1997). This so-called “pesticide


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 55treadmill” has caused a continuous increase in the use of pesticidesin the region. The phenomenon is well-established inthe scientific literature and is responsible for crop losses dueto pests and diseases, which have increased notably despitethe ever greater use of pesticides (Pimentel et al., 1978).Particularly worrisome at present is the increase in weedsresistant to herbicides, mainly glyphosate, due to the establishmentof herbicide-resistant or -tolerant varieties, such asRoundup-Ready soybean from Monsanto (Box 1-7). From2000 to 2005, the number of biotypes of herbicide-resistantweeds climbed from 235 to 296 and to 178 species. All thesefactors combine with the vast expanses of single-crop agriculturecharacteristic of the conventional/productivist productionsystem to create conditions that are unsustainablein the long run (Matson et al., 1997).1.7.2.3 Agroecological systemThe agroecological systems have emerged in response to thelack of sustainability and the environmental and health impactsof the conventional/productivist system. One of the pillarsof the agroecological systems is the elimination or reductionin the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers; the otherpillar is biodiversity. A recent study of 286 agroecologicalprojects with small-scale producers in 57 countries of Africa,Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean found that whilethe average yield increased 79%, there were also increases inthe efficiency of water use and the potential for carbon sequestration.Also contributing to the increase in the sustainabilityof the systems, the study found that 77% of the producersreported a 71% reduction in the use of pesticides. This studyis significant because it covers an area of 37 million ha, whichrepresents 3% of the area planted in the non-industrializedcountries (Pretty et al., 2006). One of the strategies for managingagroecological systems is to increase biodiversity, bothplanned and associated (Vandermeer, 1995). The increase inbiodiversity is accompanied by the restoration of ecologicalprocesses such as pollination and the predation of herbivoresby natural enemies (Nicholls and Altieri, 1997). Alongsidethese benefits, agroecological practices may also increase thesystem’s resistance to catastrophes, thereby bolstering its sustainability.Recently a participatory study by the MovimientoCampesino a Campesino showed that farms managed withagroecological practices were more resistant to the impactsof Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua (Holt-Giménez, 2001)(Box 1-5).1.7.3 Quality and food safetyFood quality and safety is understood as the guarantee thata food will not cause harm to the consumer, or in otherwords that it won’t cause disease. The modern concept incorporatesfactors such as agricultural practices, geneticmanipulation, the inclusion of hormones or other drugs inanimals’ diets (Campos, 2000) and post-harvest handlingsuch as storage conditions and the use of unauthorized additives.The Codex Alimentarius Commission, establishedby the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and theWorld Health Organization (WHO), prepares risk-basedfood safety standards that are used as a reference in internationaltrade and give the countries a model for nationallaws (FAO, 2007).The concept of food quality has to do with nutritionalvalue, organoleptic properties such as appearance, color, textureand flavor and functional properties. Quality is relatedto characteristics that determine value or acceptability byconsumers and compliance with standards that ensure thata product is safe for consumers, not contaminated, adulterated,or bearing a fraudulent presentation. Safety thereforehas to do with risks associated with production and subsequenthandling, processing and packaging, such as contaminationwith agrochemicals (pesticides and fertilizers),veterinary drugs, or unauthorized food additives; microbiologicalrisks posed by bacteria, protozoa, parasites, virusesand fungi or their toxins (mycotoxins, aflatoxins); naturaltoxins present in the environment (zinc, arsenic, cyanide) orin foods themselves (solanine and histamine); and toxic industrialchemicals or radioactive waste (arsenic, cadmium,copper, lead, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls) (FAO,2000). Exposure to pesticide waste or other contaminantsin the diet has adverse effects on the production and reproductionof animals and in human populations (Singh et al.,2007).Although until a few years ago authorities and researchersfrom several countries affirmed that foods produced organicallydid not differ significantly in terms of food safetyand nutrition from conventionally grown foods, there ismore and more evidence and official recognition that organicfoods contain lower amounts of residue of additivesand colors, pesticides, veterinary drugs and in many casesmore nitrates and other vitamins, minerals, essential fattyacids and beneficial antioxidants; and they appear to havethe potential to lower the incidence of cancer, coronary heartdisease, allergies and hyperactivity in children (FAO, 2000;Cleeton, 2004; Soil Association, 2005, 2007). Baker et al.(2002) performed a statistical analysis of data on pesticideresidues in 94,000 food samples to describe and quantifydifferences between fresh fruits and vegetables from threedifferent modes of production: conventional, integratedpest management and organic. A comparison was done ofdata from three programs: the Pesticide Data Program ofthe US Department of Agriculture; the Marketplace SurveillanceProgram of the California Department of PesticideRegulation; and tests performed by Consumers Union, anindependent organization. It was found that concentrationsof pesticide residues in organic samples were consistentlylower than in the other two categories and the greatestconcentrations were found in the conventional samples,which also contain multiple pesticide residues in greaterproportions.According to Barg and Queirós (2007), in 2004 a studywas carried out in Uruguay on the quality of fruits andvegetables and levels of contamination by agrochemicals,with 200 samples. Residues were detected in 72% of them;in 7% of the cases the maximum residue limits (MRLs)—established by Codex Alimentarius for individual products—wereexceeded, but in many samples residues of severaldifferent pesticides were detected. Combinations of lowlevels of insecticides, herbicides and nitrates have proven tobe toxic at levels at which the chemicals individually consideredare not (Cleeton, 2004). Barg and Queirós (2007)added that the MRLs allowed are set based on the technolo-


56 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportgies available and the current economic and commercial interestsand that the limits allowed today may be different inthe future and from what they were in the past, thus they arenot established in relation to the harm they cause to health,but have more to do with the technological packages currentlyavailable and the companies involved.According to FAO (2000) sensory analysis studies havebeen performed to determine differences in the organolepticproperties of fruits and vegetables such as apples, tomatoesand carrots, in which the persons interviewed have recognizedbetter flavor and color in organic as compared to conventionalproduce. In addition, it has been recognized thatthere are fewer losses due to fungi attacks during the storageof organic produce.It is recognized that many developing countries have deficientfood safety systems due to weak public infrastructureand incomplete or obsolete legislation that is not in line withinternational standards; there are even shortcomings in thedeveloped world, when primary production is not covered.In addition, the responsibilities related to food safety andfood control tend to be dispersed among several institutionsand the laboratories lack the equipment and basic suppliesthey need, all of which is aggravated by climatic conditions.The shortcomings of the food safety systems may result inan increase in food problems and food diseases. Diarrhealdiseases, for example, provoked mainly by the consumptionof unhealthy food and water, take the lives of 1.8 millionchildren each year (FAO, 2007).Almost all chemical pesticides authorized in conventionalfood production are prohibited in organic production;therefore contamination may be very low in organicproducts. More than 500 additives are authorized in conventionalfoods, but only 30 additives are authorized inorganic foods. It has been concluded that a predominantlyorganic diet reduces the amount of toxic chemicals ingested,avoids transgenics, reduces the quantity of food additivesand coloring; increases the consumption of vitamins, minerals,essential fatty acids and beneficial antioxidants; and appearsto have the potential to lower the incidence of cancer,coronary heart disease, allergies and hyperactivity in children(Cleeton, 2004).The Regional Conference of Consumers of HealthyFood, held in Bogotá, Colombia, in August 2004, organizedby Consumers International, Office for Latin Americaand the Caribbean, recognized that the use of pesticides aswell as the presence of pesticide residues in foods present inthe market are a major concern for the consumers’ movement,since quality and safety include the primary stage ofproduction and the processing of such products. Accordingly,emphasis was placed on the need for a comprehensiveapproach to ensuring safety, from production to finalconsumption, through sustainable agricultural production.It was emphasized that the cooperation and joint action ofConsumers International with Latin American networkssuch as RAP-AL (Red de Acción en Plaguicidas y sus Alternativasen América Latina, Pesticide Action Networkin Latin America) and MAELA (Latin American AgroecologyMovement) play an essential role here. It is alsocrucial that strategic partnerships be strengthened withthe women’s movement to work on issues of food securityand food sovereignty, health promotion, promotingbreastfeeding and safe foods (Consumers International,2004).Although organic or agroecological foods are of significantlybetter quality than conventional ones, it cannot besaid that they are totally safe. For example, one may finddetectable levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) inorganic or agroecological foods, such as DDT and other organochlorineinsecticides that are no longer used becausethey accumulated in the soil for years. 8 Agroecological producemay also contain residues of other chemical pesticidesthat reach it by drift, with rain, or with contaminated waters,but also less frequently and in lower concentrations than inconventional produce (FAO, 2000; Bordeleau, 2002).Animal manure and other organic waste such as biosolidsor sludge from wastewater treatment plants, whichmay be used as fertilizer in ecological agriculture, may poserisks of contamination by pathogenic microorganisms thatsurvive inadequate composting conditions (FAO, 2000).It might be thought that organic foods pose risks of contaminationwith aflatoxins, a by-product of the contaminationof foods with certain fungi in conditions favorablefor them, given that they occur without the use of chemicalfungicides. Nonetheless, it has been shown that such is notthe case. Aflatoxins, which may induce cancer of the liverat very low dosages if ingested over a prolonged period oftime, may be avoided by good practices in farming, postharvesthandling and storage. Studies have been reportedthat found that the level of aflatoxin in organic milk waslower than in conventional milk (FAO, 2000).With regard to post-harvest handling, the vitamin Ccontent and the dry matter are, on average, greater in organiccrops and the percentage of water less, therefore theykeep better than products handled with chemicals, since theyare more resistant to diseases and pests (Barg and Queirós,2007).1.7.4 Impacts of the production systems1.7.4.1 Environmental impactsAgriculture general impacts. There is widespread agreementthat habitat destruction and fragmentation is the majordriver of biodiversity loss worldwide. While habitat destructionand fragmentation have many causes, foremost amongthem in terms of the area affected is agriculture (Goudie,1990; Heywood and Watson, 1995; McNeely and Scherr,2003; MA, 2005b). Siltation of water bodies caused by theremoval of natural vegetative cover can have similarly negativeeffects on aquatic and marine organisms. Agriculturedirectly impacts aquatic biodiversity when excessive wateris removed for irrigation. Production practices, such asburning cleared vegetation, can cause additional loss of biodiversity.Livestock contributes enormous amounts of methaneto the world’s atmosphere, which in turn contributes toclimate change and impacts biodiversity (Clay, 2004). Somespecies introduced for agricultural purposes have become8These persistent contaminants are called organic becausethey contain carbon in their molecule since they are manufacturedfrom fossil fuels, but their use is prohibited in organicagriculture.


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 57invasive and directly or indirectly caused the loss of nativebiodiversity as well. In short, agriculture is the human activitythat has most affected the earth’s environment and thathas caused the most direct and indirect biodiversity loss.Deforestation. The annual expansion in cultivated area inLatin America from 1961 to 1997 was 1.26% per year, fargreater than any other region (Dixon et al., 2001). Since1961, cultivated land has expanded by 47%, while croppingintensity has only increased by 1% (Dixon et al., 2001),meaning that most of the increase in agricultural productionhas been due to the expansion in cultivated area.Expansion of the agricultural frontier in Latin Americahas commonly been ascribed to a set of key drivers: taxand credit policies and agricultural subsidies; agriculturalcolonization schemes; international and national markets;clearing for establishing land ownership; and technologicalfactors (White et al., 2001). Frontier expansion in LatinAmerica often starts with the cutting of logging roads intoprimary forest. Logging by itself deforests relatively minorareas of land. But logging roads allow colonists, usuallysmall farmers using traditional production methods, toenter into hitherto impenetrable areas and slash and burnthe forest, cultivating primarily subsistence crops for oneto three years, until the soil begins to lose its fertility. Thenthey sell the land they have cleared to others, often largelandowners, for conversion to pasture (Nations, 1992; Vandermeerand Perfecto, 2005). Cattle production is usuallyextensive, with low levels of inputs. Because of the characteristicsof soils in tropical rain forests and grazing practiceson the recently cleared land, pastures often quickly becomedegraded. When this happens, it can be very expensive torecuperate them and since land at the frontier is cheap, pasturesare simply abandoned for newly cleared areas. In theAmazon, pastures are often abandoned within ten yearsand more than 50% of the area cleared is estimated to havebeen abandoned by the early 1990s (Hecht, 1992). Someresearch, however, indicates that soil fertility does not declineas markedly as widely believed and that agriculture inthe Amazon may continue to be profitable over time if appropriatecultivation techniques are used (Schneider, 1995;Vosti et al., 2002).The relative contribution of small-scale, traditional agricultureto deforestation is a matter of some dispute (Vostiet al., 2002; Sanchez et al., 2005). While small farmers usingtraditional cultivation methods are certainly part of thephenomenon of the expanding frontier, large-scale clearingmay ultimately be responsible for a larger absolute area ofdeforestation (Partridge, 1989). Nevertheless, spontaneousor state-sponsored agricultural colonization, which uses thefrontier as a safety valve to address the problems of land tenure,has certainly played an important role in deforestationthroughout the region. In some cases, such as immigrationfrom traditional farming areas in Guatemala to the Petén(Barraclough and Ghimire, 2000), small-scale farmers aredisplaced by the intensification of agriculture in the sendingareas. In other cases, farmers from marginal agriculturalareas move away in hope of better opportunities. This hasbeen one reason for internal migration in Brazil and elsewhere,where farmers from the poor, drought-prone northeastof the country were among the most likely to migrateto the Amazonian agricultural frontier (Mahar, 1989; Lisansky,1990). Typically the farming techniques that migrantfarmers learned in their areas of origin are inappropriatefor the fragile soils and vastly different climatic conditionsof the frontier they have colonized, leading to even quickerdegradation of the areas they have cleared and greater needto continually clear new areas.The two most active agricultural frontiers in LatinAmerica over the last few decades of the 20 th century havebeen in the rainforests of Central America and Brazil, bothareas of high biodiversity. Central America, for example,has only around 0.5% of the world’s land area, but representsaround 7% of the world’s biodiversity. It is considereda biological hotspot and has many endemic and threatenedspecies. Much of the original forest has already been cleared,with only 20% of the isthmus still covered in dense forest.Nevertheless, a significant swath of tropical moist broadleafforest remains along the Atlantic Coast, stretching fromsouthern Mexico to Panama (Dinerstein et al., 1995).The expansion of the agricultural frontier has beenlinked to export cycles of commodity crops in CentralAmerica, but the ultimate use of cleared lands has beenpredominantly for pasture, generally using extensive systemswith low levels of inputs. The total area in pasture hasalmost quadrupled from approximately 3.5 million ha in1950 to over 13 million ha in 2001 (Harvey et al., 2005).Much of the cattle production was export-oriented. The declinein forest cover across the peninsula since the mid-20 thcentury has been precipitous. Nicaragua, for example, lost50% of its forest cover from 1963 to 1992 (Barraclough andGhimire, 2000). The agricultural frontier has disappearedin El Salvador and Costa Rica, where most forest has alreadybeen cleared or, in the case of Costa Rica, designatedas protected, but there is still an active agricultural frontieralong the Atlantic Coast of the remaining countries of CentralAmerica (Harvey et al., 2005).Government policies also provided incentives for colonizationof the agricultural frontier. In both Brazil and CentralAmerica, those seeking titled land were required to show“productive” use of the land by clearing it. This has beendocumented as a major factor in agricultural conversion atthe frontier in Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama in CentralAmerica (Barbier, 2004). Government policies that subsidizedcredit for certain activities have also had a big impact.In the 1960s and 1970s, Costa Rica embarked on a programof diversification of agro-exports, supported by governmentcredits, which pushed cattle exports up to become the thirdlargest agro-export earner (Lehnmann, 1992). By 1973, athird of the land area of Costa Rica was in pasture. Statesponsoredcolonization schemes, in the Guatemalan Petén,for instance, also directly added to deforestation (Barracloughand Ghimire, 2000).Export-oriented production of commodities using conventionalproduction systems has led to extensive clearingof native vegetation outside the rain forest in many parts ofLatin America, as exemplified by the recent expansion ofsoybean cultivation throughout the Brazilian cerrado andthe forests of Argentina. The cerrado is a mosaic of savannahand woodlands on Brazil’s vast central plateau. It isone of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and is home to themost diverse savannah flora in the world (UNEP, 1999a), an


58 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportastonishing 44% of which is endemic (Klink and Machado,2005). Government policies played a major role in stimulatingagricultural conversion in the cerrado, as they did in theAmazon. Starting in the 1960s, government policies aimedat generating foreign exchange through the production ofexport crops, principally soybean, combined with a desire topopulate what was perceived as a vast “empty space” in thecountry’s interior, led to subsidized loans, the developmentof infrastructure and other incentives to open up the cerrado(Wood et al., 2000; Klink and Machado, 2005). As a result,by 2002 more than half the original vegetation of the cerradohad been cleared for human use (Klink and Machado,2005), with more than 70% of the farmed area dedicatedto cattle production, generally of low intensity (Wood et al.,2000). Most of the rest is dedicated to large-scale, mechanizedsoybean production, oriented towards the exportmarket. Likewise, due to the expansion of soybean, Argentinanow has rates of deforestation that are 3 to 6 times theworld averages (Jason, 2004) (Box 1-7).Declines in on-farm biodiversity. As an ever-increasing proportionof Latin America’s land is cleared for agriculture,agricultural plots themselves and the semi-natural areas thatoften surround them have become more important habitatsfor species that are able to adapt to disturbed environments.There is evidence that use of some traditional practices leadsto enhanced on-farm biodiversity, as compared to more intensivefarming methods. Harvey et al. (2004) review theliterature for Latin America and conclude that practices thatincrease the variability of habitats available on farm, suchas live fences, windbreaks and isolated trees, have had ademonstrable impact on taxa such as birds and mammals.Other studies have demonstrated linkages between increasedbiodiversity and both organic agriculture and shaded tropicalagriculture, such as shade coffee (Perfecto et al., 1996;Perfecto and Armbrecht, 2003; Buck et al., 2004). As farmingsystems have evolved to more technology-intensive overthe last half century, many of these more sustainable practiceshave been abandoned (McNeely and Scherr, 2003).Consequently, the amount of wild biodiversity supportedon farms has decreased over time. In his global analysis,Donald (2004) found that the increase in production of thefive major commodities in the world (soybean, rice, cacao,coffee and oil palm) were achieved through an increase inthe area planted as well as an increase in yield per area,both of which led to environmental degradation and amassive loss of biodiversity. These negative environmentalimpacts were a consequence of both habitat loss and environmentalcontamination due to the use of agrochemicals.Similarly, Robinson and Sutherland (2002) documentedthe reduction of biodiversity due to agriculturein post-war Britain. They also present evidence that theloss of biodiversity was due to both habitat loss and habitatdegradation (i.e., contamination with pesticides and otheragrochemicals as well as the homogenization of the farmhabitat).Impacts of freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystemsare very poorly understood, but it is clear that they are highlythreatened worldwide (Abell, 2002; Olson and Dinerstein,2002; MA, 2005b). Conventional/productivist agricultureis a major source of threat to these systems. A recent assessmentof Latin America’s freshwater biodiversity concludedthat more than 85% of freshwater biodiversity in the regionis seriously threatened (Olson and Dinerstein, 2002).Threats related to agriculture include direct habitatconversion, for example in the case of wetlands drained foragricultural use; sedimentation from the loss of riparian andcatchment basin forests; and pollution and eutrophicationfrom agrochemicals, fertilizers and fish farming. The introductionof non-native species, often as part of fish farminginitiatives, is a particular problem for lakes; unintentionalescapes from fish ponds into streams and rivers are alsoproblematic (ILEC, 2005). Dams and channelizations constructedfor flood control or irrigation and excessive waterwithdrawal, are another source of impact related to agriculture.An emerging issue with dams is the importance ofenvironmental flows, that is, the timing and size of flowsnecessary for maintaining downstream ecosystems. Pollutionfrom waste produced by processing agricultural cropsalso impacts freshwater biodiversity (Clay, 2004; ILEC,2005). Finally, direct exploitation of freshwater fish for foodis also an important threat.While these problems have not been well-studied inLatin America, there is some evidence of their impact inparticular places. Agostinho et al. (2005) review studies ofimpacts from various threats to freshwater systems in Brazil.There is evidence of reduced species diversity and alterationin community structure in freshwater bodies subject topollution or eutrophication. Siltation caused by intensiveagriculture has been documented as impacting freshwaterbiodiversity in the Pantanal, the Cerrado and in streams inthe highly threatened Atlantic Forest, as well as the Amazon.In Chile, native lake fishes appear to have declined withthe establishment of populations of rainbow trout, an exoticspecies, in the 1900s. With explosive growth in the Chileanaquaculture industry and Chile poised to become the worldwideleader in salmon production, there is concern aboutthe impact of runaway salmon on native fish populations aswell (Gajardo and Laikre, 2003).Contamination and degradation of aquatic and terrestrialecosystems. Agriculture also impacts biodiversity beyondthe conversion of natural habitat. In particular, the useof agrochemicals in the conventional/productivist systemresults in contamination and degradation of ecosystems.Agrochemicals can harm species that utilize agriculturallandscapes or nearby areas and they have a major impacton aquatic and marine biodiversity. Pesticides persist in theenvironment and many disperse globally as a result of drift,soil volatilization and evaporation (Kurtz, 1990). Pesticideshave caused extensive contamination of the soil (Kammerbauerand Moncada, 1998), surface water and groundwater(Dalvie et al., 2003), marine and estuary sediments (Bhattacharyaet al., 2003), rain (Quaghebeur et al., 2004), polarsnow (Barrie et al., 1992), mammals (WWF, 2006) and eventree bark (Simonich and Hites, 1995).Certain persistent pesticides even accumulate in humantissues and are concentrated as they pass through the linksin the food chains. They are implicated in massive deaths ofmarine mammals (Colborn et al., 1996) and of many birdspecies (Goldstein et al., 1999). As a result of hormonal


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 59or endocrinal alteration, which many can cause, they areresponsible for serious population losses and for the feminizationof male amphibians (Hayes, 2005) and alligators(Colborn et al., 1996; Crain et al., 1997). Some halogenatedpesticides, particularly methyl bromide, contribute tothe destruction of the ozone layer, which protects the earth(Miller, 1996; UNEP, 1999b).The impact of fertilizers and pesticides on the soil hasbeen the subject of little research in LAC, yet food productionultimately depends on soil quality. This may be one ofthe main causes of declining crop yields and the diminutionin levels of micronutrients in foods that the Green Revolutionhas suffered.Another source of high levels of agricultural soil contaminationis to be found in the toxic waste of pesticides,such as the packages, bottles and leftover pesticide notused. In addition, illegal and clandestine burying of obsoleteor expired products has been discovered in recent yearsin many Latin American and Caribbean countries, such asthe northern coast of Colombia. Given that the StockholmConvention on POPs entered into force in May 2004, in severalcountries of LAC inventories are being taken of obsolete(prohibited or expired) pesticides, which include POPs(UNEP, 2001).The conventional/productivist system also demands alarge increase in water use, including an enormous expansionof irrigation facilities. This has reduced groundwaterreserves and led to a drop in the water table in vast agriculturalregions, as in Valle del Cauca in Colombia, where onefinds sugarcane monoculture and the savannah of Bogotá,the main zone for the cultivation of flowers for export; wellsfor drawing water from the subsoil have to be dug deeperand deeper.Coastal and marine ecosystems. The greatest impacts onmarine ecosystems worldwide are caused by overfishing.Nevertheless, nutrient loading, largely due to agriculturaluse of fertilizers, is a major cause of degradation for coastalecosystems (MA, 2005a).Sedimentation caused by erosion on agricultural fieldsand pollution caused by agrochemicals also represent significantthreats to marine ecosystems (Clay, 2004). Coralreefs, which are generally close to shore and are importantrepositories of the world’s biodiversity, are particularly affectedby these threats. Almost two-thirds of the reefs ofCentral America and the Caribbean are considered at riskand one-third is considered at high risk (Barker, 2002).Aquaculture represents a relatively new but growingsource of impacts on coastal ecosystems. Shrimp farmingoften displaces mangroves, among the most valuable andhighly threatened of coastal habitats, as well as wetlandsand estuaries. Shrimp production is prevalent in coastalareas throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbeanand northern South America, especially Ecuador. Inaddition to outright destruction of fragile and economicallyvaluable coastal ecosystems, shrimp farming causes considerablewater pollution in coastal areas. Aquaculture wasvirtually nonexistent at mid-century and now represents animportant economic sector in many countries and with thegrowth in world demand for fish, its impact on coastal ecosystemscan only accelerate (Clay, 2004).1.7.4.2 Social impactsAccording to FAO (1986), the technological changes inagriculture over the last 50 years, such as the package ofimproved seeds, growing technologies, better irrigation andchemical fertilizers were very successful in attaining the essentialobjective of increasing agricultural production, cropyields and aggregate food supplies. Nonetheless, the swiftmodernization of agriculture and the introduction of newtechnologies, characteristic of the Green Revolution, had adifferential impact on rural populations, depending on classand gender. The effects of modern agriculture were differentiated,depending on whether you were paid workers, growers,or consumers, from households with or without land,rich or poor, male-headed or female-headed. Moreover,there were two general trends: the rich benefited more thanthe poor from that technological change and men benefitedmore than women.In Latin America and the Caribbean, the intensificationof agriculture entailed the transformation from traditionalproduction to production using external inputs, along withthe accompanying social changes. Yet the process was carriedout conservatively in the region, if we compare it withwhat happened in Europe, which has implied a large debtto the external banking system and the exclusion of most ofthe population. Agriculture saw improvements in production,exports and incomes, although poverty and rural marginalityexpanded, especially for thousands of small-scaleproducers.However, the productive accomplishments of modernagriculture cannot be ignored; year after year millions oftonnes of food are produced, yet this is not enough to alleviatehunger and achieve food security in the region, sincethe poor don’t have access to the food. At the same time,agrarian policies have not been able to resolve the socialright to access the benefits of technology, therefore there isa growing accumulation and concentration of the wealthgenerated by agriculture (Rosset et al., 2000).In addition, FAO (2000) indicates that one of the importantsocial effects of modern agriculture has been demographicchange, due to the substitution of a considerablepart of the agricultural labor force by machinery, the increasein the area per worker and the consequent reductionin the number of farms, which has unleashed an intense ruralexodus, also driven by the reduction in related activities(the trade in primary products, processed goods and crafts,as well as public services). This decline in the rural populationhas made it difficult to maintain the services (mail,schools, stores, physicians and pharmacies) and social life.The document The Millennium Development Goals: A LatinAmerican and Caribbean Perspective identifies a lack of jobsas one of the main problems in the region (UNDP, 2005a).Indeed, it is argued that conventional/productivist agriculture,apart from the social impacts produced by povertyand inequality, has exchanged technologies for peasants,expelling thousands of families from rural communities anddevaluing everything that farmers represent for the social,economic and environmental life of the rural world. At thesame time, it has generated a major increase in inequalityand the continuing dismemberment and disappearance ofpeasant communities and with that the major loss of culturaldiversity (Riechmann, 2003).


60 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportAt the same time, industrial/conventional/productivistagriculture has significantly upset the land tenure of peasantsand indigenous communities, since those who cannotbecome incorporated into this type of agriculture and areunable to compete are forced to sell their lands and seek jobsas wage workers or emigrate to the cities, which means thatthe concentration of landholdings in just a few hands producesgreater stratification and therefore greater inequalityand economic and social insecurity.The technological changes in agriculture have resultedin a diminution of the number of small-scale producersand an increase in the number of agricultural workers. Theworkers employed by the agricultural enterprises have suffereddeterioration of their social and working conditions:mainly low wages, unstable employment, the lack of socialsecurity and exploitation at work (Ahumada, 2000).Giberti (2002) suggests that the impoverishment andunemployment of many agricultural producers that has beencaused by the development of industrial agriculture favoredthe hiring of workers in unjust conditions, often disguisedin pseudo-associative forms, as often happens with horticulturearound large cities. This rural worker is extremelyvulnerable: he or she practically lacks medical coverage andthe possibility of retirement, as indicated by the tiny numberswho attain such benefits.Another sociocultural effect has been on local knowledgeand how it is disseminated. FAO (2000) suggests thatsince the design of the new means of production happensat research and development centers and relatively concentratedindustrial and services enterprises, training for farmersand agricultural workers no longer happens directly inthe countryside, but rather in public and private institutionsand through technical and economic information services.In a broader perspective, the rural cultural patrimony of thepast, locally developed and managed, has given way to arelatively uniform culture disseminated by the educationalsystem and the media.In addition, conventional/productivist agriculture hasmeant, for rural producers, scant participation in the choiceof the technologies that have been applied, since the approachhas almost always been imposed vertically, resultingin barriers to the acceptance of technology. As a result,cultural integration, specifically of local or traditional customsand knowledge, has been scant or nonexistent (Altieri,1992).Modern agriculture has impoverished and deterioratedthe cultural aspects of how we feed ourselves. First, foodcustoms and diversity have been lost, since numerous traditionalfoods have disappeared from the markets and fromthe rural kitchen, having been replaced by those producedby industrial agriculture and food imports. In addition, dueto the whole social transformation that has taken place inthe homes of peasant families, the kitchen has disappearedas the central space of the home and with it a culture whosevalues were quality food, sociability (convivencia), associatedwith the fact of obtaining nutrition and enjoyment ofvariety (Riechmann, 2003).1.7.4.3 Impacts on health and nutrition.Health effects of diminished biodiversity. Biodiversity is essentialfor nutrition and food safety and offers alternativesfor improving the standard of living of communities, thusimproving the overall health of human beings. Today certaincommunities continue using some 200 or more speciesin their diet, but the world trend is towards simplification,with negative consequences for health, nutritional equilibriumand food safety. Biodiversity plays a crucial role mitigatingthe effects of micronutrient deficiencies (iron, zinc,copper, magnesium and calcium), which weaken hundredsof millions of persons. A more diverse diet is crucial fordiminishing the trend towards malnutrition and for living ahealthier life (Barg and Queirós, 2007).The loss of traditional varieties, soil degradation andcontamination, the loss of biodiversity due to the establishmentof large, genetically uniform expanses of single-cropagriculture and the elimination of their organic managementall resulted in deficiencies in essential micronutrients and vitaminsin conventional food crops. Our foods are nutritionallyunbalanced, since they are fertilized generally with oneto three elements (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium),yet it is known that plants need 42 to 45 minerals to growhealthy and with this type of reductionist agriculture veryfew nutrients are provided to the plant (Barg and Queirós,2007).Statistics from the governments of the United Kingdomand the United States indicate that the levels of minerals infruits and vegetables fell up to 76% from 1940 to 1991. Byway of contrast, there is mounting evidence that organicfruits and vegetables may have a greater vitamin and mineralcontent (Cleeton, 2004), from 40 to 60% more (Barg andQueirós, 2007), although some recommend that additionalresearch be done (Table 1-11) (Soil Association, 2005).Acute and chronic toxicity due to agrochemicals. Poisoningsand deaths. Pesticides account for more poisoningsthan any other cause worldwide. In 1990 the World HealthOrganization (WHO) estimated that each year three millionsevere cases of poisoning occur, with likely mortalityof 1% (WHO, 1990), whereas others calculated 25 millionpoisonings that same year, estimating that an average of 3%of workers were intoxicated that year. Such figures reflectonly the most severe cases and significantly underestimateunintentional poisonings due to pesticides, because they arebased primarily on hospital records. Most of the rural poordo not have access to hospitals and physicians and workersin the health sector often fail to recognize and report casesof poisoning (Murray et al., 2002). In a research study onthe incidence of acute intoxications due to pesticides in sixCentral American countries, done in the early years of thisdecade by PAHO, WHO, DANIDA and the ministries ofhealth, within the project known as PlagSalud, 98% underregistrationof intoxications was estimated (Murray et al.,2002; OPS, 2003).It is estimated that 99% of the deaths occur in thecountries of the South, i.e., Latin America, Africa and Asia(WHO, 1990). These data are more alarming if one considersthat in Latin America, where the use of pesticides hasrisen the most in recent years and with it cases of poisoning,a large number of women of reproductive age and childrenwork in agriculture, exposed to pesticides in conditions thatare very dangerous in which they are highly susceptible(Nivia, 2000).


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 61Table 1-11. Mineral level in organically and conventionally grown foods.Mineral content in miliequivalent/100 gramsType of food Calcium Magnesium Potassium Sodium Manganese Iron CopperLettuceOrganic 40.5 60 99.7 8.6 60 227 69Conventional 15.5 14.8 29.1 0 2 0 3TomatoesOrganic 71 49.3 176.5 12.2 169 516 60Conventional 16 13.1 53.7 0 1 9 3BeansOrganic 96 203.9 257 69.5 117 1,585 32Conventional 47.5 46.9 84 0.8 19 5Source: Barg y Queíroz, 2007.Chronic intoxications. Persons subject to high levels of exposurebecause of their occupation may be poisoned withoutmanifesting symptoms, which means they are not warned ofthe high risk they run of suffering severe intoxication anddying from a small additional exposure, which in normalconditions would not cause a critical intoxication. Accordingto the most recent documentary research by PAN International(Pesticide Action Network), contained in its positionpaper on the elimination of pesticides (PAN, 2007), themain chronic effects caused by chemical pesticides includecerebral lesions and lesions of the nervous system in general,such as peripheral polyneuropathies and Parkinson’s disease(Semchuk and Love, 1992; McConnell et al., 1993; Baldi,2003; PAN Germany, 2003; Isenring, 2006); cardiovasculardiseases; kidney and liver disorders; cancer (Brody andRudel, 2003; Flower et al., 2004); genetic mutations; teratogenesis(congenital functional malformations or abnormalities)(Levario et al., 2003); endocrine or hormonal problems;reproductive problems (sterility, impotence, abortions, stillbornchildren, development problems in offspring) (Colbornet al., 1996; Figà-Talamanca, 2006; Bretveld et al., 2007);and suppression of the immune system. All pesticides producechronic effects, particularly those known as persistentorganic pollutants (POPs), which include DDT and otherorganochlorinated insecticides, which are targeted for controlby the Stockholm Convention approved at the UnitedNations in 2001 and which entered into force in May 2004(UNEP, 2001; UNEP, 2007).Health effects of contamination of the environment andfoods. There are growing concerns not only about the presenceof pesticide residues in foods and their health effects,but also about the “cocktail effect” of multiple pesticideresidues, along with food additives, hormones and antibioticsused in breeding livestock and poultry and due to theuse of chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilization in conventionalagriculture results in higher levels of nitrates, whichcan have negative effects on health, because in certain conditionsthey can be converted to nitrosamines, which arecarcinogenic. They may also reduce the ability of the bloodto transport oxygen and pose a risk of methemoglobinemia(FAO, 2000). An effort has begun to look for multiple pesticideresidues and nitrates in food samples, because the evidencesuggests that when they act in combination in foods,the harmful effects may be compounded. Combinations oflow levels of insecticides, herbicides and nitrates have proventoxic at levels at which the chemicals individually are not(Cleeton, 2004).Hormonal or endocrine effects. The greatest harm from exposureto pesticides occurs during pregnancy, when toxicswith endocrine effects or xenohormones limit or block thedelicate natural signals that the hormonal systems of themother and fetus send the cells and organs to guide theirdevelopment. The endocrine alteration in the womb duringthe stage of fetal development may result in cancer, endometriosis,learning disorders, behavioral disorders, immunologicaland neurological disorders and other problemssuch as low sperm count, genital malformations and infertility.These hormonal problems may originate in fetal exposureand not manifest until puberty (Colborn et al, 1996;Figà-Talamanca, 2006; Bretveld et al., 2007). In addition, itis suggested that they may contribute to higher rates of hormone-dependentcancers such as breast and prostate cancer,in women and men occupationally exposed to pesticides. Itis likely that women with breast cancer will have five to ninetimes more pesticide residue in their blood than those notafflicted with the disease (Bejarano, 2004; Cleeton, 2004).Children may be particularly susceptible to pesticideresidues because they consume more food and water perunit of body weight than adults and their relatively immatureorgans may have a limited ability to detoxify these substances.In a comparative study with children ages 2 to 4years in Seattle, six times more pesticide residue was foundin children fed conventional foods than those fed organicfoods. In another comparative study in Sweden with 295children ages 5 to 13 years from schools with different approachesto education and food, it was found that in the


62 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportschool with alternative approaches, in which preference isgiving to organic food, there was a lesser prevalence of allergies(Cleeton, 2004).Risks due to transgenic foods. There are many concernsabout the possible effects of transgenic foods, which areprohibited in organic or agroecological foods. The potentialhealth effects of GMOs on humans are unknown, butthere are ever greater concerns because more than half ofthe studies that do not find negative effects on organs of laboratoryanimals have been done in collaboration with theindustry. Other studies, done independently, relate healthrisks mainly in the intestinal walls, due to the transfer oftransgenes to intestinal bacteria; the scientists suggest thatuntil they are adequately researched it is best not to consumethem (Cleeton, 2004).According to statistics provided by the transgenics industry,in 2006 these crops (herbicide tolerant and insectresistant) were planted on 100.8 million ha, 12% more thanin 2005 (90 million ha); global sales of these seeds reachedUS$6.050 billion (a 14% increase with respect to the previousyear) (CropLife, 2007). Argentina was in second placein area planted after the United States, followed by Brazilin third place. Another five Latin American countries areamong the 22 countries that planted transgenics in 2006, accordingto CropLife (2007): Paraguay (7 th place), Uruguay(9 th ), México (13 th ), Colombia (15 th ) and Honduras (18 th ).The top eight countries saw growth of more than one millionha each from 2005 to 2006; geographic expansion occurredmainly in Latin America and Asia. Participation bycrop in the transgenic seed market in 2006 was as follows:soybean 43.9%; maize 41%; cotton 11.9%; canola 3%; andothers, 0.2% (CropLife, 2007).1.7.4.4 Economic impactsIt is very difficult to evaluate the social and environmentalcosts of conventional/productivist agriculture because it isnot easy to assign many values when ethical considerationscome into play. For example, what value should be assignedto human life? Nonetheless, efforts have been made to try toevaluate these environmental and health costs, such as thoseof David Pimentel and his team of researchers at CornellUniversity in the United States, who have valued the costsof the public health impact of intoxications and deaths, contaminationof domestic animals and cattle, loss of naturalenemies and costs due to resistance to pesticides, losses ofhoneybees and pollination of crops, losses in fishing, crops,wild birds and contamination of groundwater.Based on Pimentel’s studies (2004), in 2004 the PesticideAction Network—Latin America (RAP-AL) made aninitial approximation of the social and environmental costsin LAC. The RAP-AL study used same methodology anddata applied in the United States, yet considering that inLatin America many costs may be greater, due for exampleto the environmental costs stemming from the destructionof biodiversity, as the region includes some of the most biodiversity-richcountries in the world (Nivia, 2005).To evaluate the health impacts, general approaches ofthe World Health Organization were used that indicate that15% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbeanlives in rural areas, with 5% poisoned, 2% hospitalized and1% mortality (Table 1-12). With respect to the cost of humanlife, the 3.7 million dollar figure used by the UnitedStates EPA was based on the notion that the life of a LatinAmerican is no less valuable than the life of a person fromthe United States. In this initial calculation it was estimatedthat there is a social and ecological debt of US$130 billionannually; as in the case of the U.S. study, the impacts on soil,loss of fertility, hormonal effects, sterility, malformationsand others have yet to be calculated. In addition, althoughthe calculations are for one year, the impact has accumulatedfor more than 50 years of industrial/productivist agriculture,therefore adequate economic projections remain tobe done to estimate the cumulative economic impact of thistype of agriculture in the region.Historically, agriculture has been one of the largest andmost important sectors receiving World Bank loans. Thetrend has been to capital-intensive agriculture, with growinguse of chemical inputs and now genetic engineering, forexport. The aggressive promotion of structural adjustmentpolicies and rural development by the Bank favoring agriculturalintensification and production for export, at the cost ofsmaller-scale agricultural with fewer external inputs, is themain barrier to the significant adoption of pest managementplans and ecological and cultural production systems, whichare called for by the Bank’s new policies.In response to the demands of civil society organizations,in December 1998 the World Bank adopted an operationalpolicy on pesticides and pest management thatrequires Bank-supported projects to reduce farmers’ relianceon pesticides and promote alternative integrated pest-managementmethods that have a sound ecological foundation.It also prohibits the use of Bank funds for the purchase ofhazardous pesticides.The Pesticide Action Network (North America) analyzedthe impact on pesticide use in 107 Bank projects approvedfrom 1999 to 2003. It showed that the Bank’s policyis just on paper, because more than 90% of those projectscontinue to promote the use of pesticides; although theydon’t mention them directly, they invoke them using a differentvocabulary. The Bank considers the private sector akey ally in global development, yet this collaboration tendsto benefit the large corporations more than poor farmers.For example, the Bank financed more than US$250 millionin pesticide sales from 1988 to 1995; from 1993 to 1995all the contracts signed went directly to the largest pesticidecompanies in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, theUnited States and Japan. While the farmers who participatedin these projects suffered the negative health effectsand detrimental impact on the ecological stability of theirproduction systems that result from pesticide use, the Bankrecognized that only 1% of the projects had a complete environmentalevaluation (Karen, 2004).


Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Context, Evolution and Current Situation | 63Table 1-12. Estimated environmental and health costs associated to the use of pesticides in LAC.Effects on human health due to pesticidesTotal costs (US$)Costs for poisoning with hospitalization: 60,000 x 3 days x US$2,000/day 360,000,000Costs of treatments of patients without hospitalization (include hospital.compensations and transportation): 3,000,000 x US$1,0003,000,000,000Labor lost due to poisoning: 60,000 workers x 5 days x US$80/day 24,000,000Cancers due to pesticides: Total population 400 millions x 0.02% xUS$100,000/caseCosts due to fatalities: 30,000 x US$3.7 millions (Value of a human lifeaccording to EPA)8,000,000,000111,000,000,000Sub-Total 122,384,000,000Other losses* 8,505,000,000Total approximated environmental and health costs 130,889,000,000*There is no data for LAC therefore the figure is that estimated from US data. These figures may underestimate the true valuegiven the greater biodiversity in LAC.Source: Adapted from Pimentel, 2004; Nivia, 2005.ReferencesAbell, R. 2002. Conservation biology for thebiodiversity crisis: A freshwater follow-up.Conserv. Biol. 16:1435-1437.Acosta L., y M. Rodriguez Fazzone. 2005. Enbusca de la agricultura familiar en AméricaLatina. Oficina Regional de la FAO paraAmérica Latina y el Caribe, Santiago.Acosta, P., C. Calderón, P. Fajnzylber, yH. López. 2007. What is the impact ofinternational remittances on poverty andinequality in Latin America? Res. WorkingPap. 4249. World Bank, Washington DC.Adelman, I., y C. Morris. 1973. Who benefitsfrom economic development? Economicgrowth and social equity in developingcountries. Stanford Univ. Press, Palo Alto.Agostinho, A.A., S.M. Thomaz, y L.C. Gomes.2005. Conservation of the biodiversity ofBrazil’s inland waters. Conserv. Biol. 19:646-652.Aguirre Rojas, C. 2005. América Latina enla encrucijada: Los movimientos socialesy la muerte de la política moderna.Contrahistorias, México.Ahumada, M. 1996. Estudio de la racionalidadde la economía campesina, VII Región Chile.Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Univ. Australde Chile.Ahumad, M. 2000. La innovación agrícola:cambios e innovaciones institucionales.p. 209-213. In FORAGRO. MemoriasReunión Agricultura con Conocimiento,IICA, INIFAP. MexicoAlatas, S.F. 2005. Eurocentrism and the need torethink the teaching of the social sciences.Third World Resurgence 173/174:35-37.Alstad, D.N., y D.A. Andow. 1995. Managingthe evolution of insect resistance totransgenic plants. Science 268:1894-1896.Altieri, M.A. (ed) 1987. Agroecology: Thescientific basis of alternative agriculture.Westview Press, Boulder.Altieri, M.A. 1992. Where the rhetoric ofsustainability ends, agroecology begins.CERES 134:33-39.Altieri, M.A. 1993a. Crop protection strategiesfor subsistence farmers. Westview Press,Boulder.Altieri, M.A. 1995. Agroecology: The scienceof sustainable agriculture. Westview Press,Boulder.Altieri, M.A. 1996. Enfoques agroecológicospara el desarrollo de sistemas de producciónsostenibles en los Andes. CIED, Perú.Altieri, M.A. 1999. Applying agroecology toenhance the productivity of peasant farmingsystems in Latin America. Environ. Dev.Sustain. 1:97-217.Altieri, M.A., y E. Bravo. 2007. The ecologicaland social tragedy of crop-based biofuelproduction in the Americas. Available athttp://www.foodfirst.org/node/1662. Inst.Food Dev. Policy, Oakland.Altieri, M.A., y W. Pengue. 2005. La sojatransgénica en América Latina. Unamaquinaria de hambre, deforestación ydevastación ecológica. Ecol. Polít. 30:87-93.Altieri, M.A., y W. Pengue. 2006. GM soybean:Latin America new colonizer. SeedlingJanuary:13-17.Altieri, M.A., y P. Rosset. 1999. Strengtheningthe case for why biotechnology will nothelp the developing world: A response toMcGloughlin. AgBioForum 2(3&4):226-236.Alvarado, I., y K. Charmel. 2002. The rapidrise of supermarkets in Costa Rica: Impacton horticultural markets. Dev. Policy Rev.20:473-485.Angelsen, A., y D. Kaimowitz (ed) 2001.Agricultural technologies and tropicaldeforestation. CABI, UK.Assunção, J.J., y M. Ghatak. 2003. Canunobserved heterogeneity in farmer abilityexplain the inverse relationship between farm


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2Akst Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution,Effectiveness and ImpactCoordinating Lead Authors:Hugo Cetrangolo (Argentina) and Jesús Moncada (Mexico)Lead Authors:Hernando Bernal (Colombia), Cecilia Gelabert (Argentina), MarceloRegúnaga (Argentina), and Mario Samper (Costa Rica)Contributing Authors:Antonio Castro (Brazil), David E. Williams (USA)Review Editor:Celia Harvey (US)Key Messages2.1 Inventory, Characterization and Evolution of the AKSTSystem and Its Interactions 772.1.1 Local and third sector organizations 772.1.2 National organizations 782.1.3 Regional organizations, international centers and other regionalcooperation mechanisms 802.1.4 Institutional and administrative constraints in national AKSTsystems 822.1.5 The evolution of the AKST system 862.1.6 Interactions between organizations and knowledge networks 872.1.7 Society’s perception of AKST systems 892.2 Research Approach, Agenda and Processes 892.2.1 The AKST system agenda 892.2.2 Clients of the AKST system 912.2.3 Research styles 912.2.4 Priority research processes 942.2.5 Monitoring and assessment of institutional performanceregarding AKST 942.2.6 Knowledge, science and technology from an agroecologicalperspective 952.3 Financial Resources and Administration of the AKSTsystem 952.3.1 Development and impact of investment in AKST 952.3.2 AKST funding amounts, trends and consequences 982.3.3 Consequences of reduced financing 982.3.4 Changes in approaches to mobilizing resources 1002.3.5 Support institutions 1012.4 Responses of the AKST systems to Changes in the MostInfluential Contextual Variables 1012.4.1 Water 1012.4.2 Biodiversity 1022.4.3 Soils 1032.4.4 The social variable 1032.4.5 Policies 1032.4.6 Markets 1052.5 Effectiveness and Impact of the AKST System 1052.5.1 On production systems 1052.5.1.1 The traditional indigenous and campesino systems 1052.5.1.2 The agroecological production system 1062.5.1.3 The conventional system 1062.5.2 On the advancement of knowledge and innovation systems 1062.5.3 On consumers 1072.5.4 Social aspects 1072.5.5 On the competitiveness of chains and conglomerates, and onterritorial development 10875


76 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportKey Messages1. Latin America has a rich tradition of individual andinstitutional efforts in agricultural science, knowledgeand technology (AKST). While these have made significantcontributions to food security and the agroexportingsector, they have not taken full advantageof the existing potential for agriculture-driven development.LAC’s different sub-regions have a heterogeneousAKST system structure involving public, private, local, national,regional, and international institutions and organizationsof varying sizes and capabilities, as well as majordifferences between countries and subregions. Recently, innovativealternatives have emerged for the management ofrelevant bodies with the participation of civil society. However,the way the systems are put together does not respondto this diversity and potentiality—which has impeded optimizingthe use of the regional AKST system, and blocked itstechnical spill-over effects.The needs that have been detected are the following:Strengthening AKST system institutions, particularly in therelatively less developed countries; Improving linkages andcooperation within the AKST system, including public- andprivate-sector users; Promoting the participation of civil societyto ensure greater social oversight and moral, political,and economic support.2. Priorities on the AKST system agenda in the pastwere food security, the production of agroindustrialcommodities, and low-cost foods for local consumptionand export. While these remain significant, thechallenge today is to develop technologies, innovations,and systems aimed at addressing the environmentaland social dimensions and the specific demandsof indigenous, traditional, and agroecologicalsystems. The lines of research prioritized before were directedat boosting productivity in the primary sector. Fewerefforts were made to produce technological developmentsgeared to the competitiveness of the agrifood chains, theproduction of non-agricultural goods and services in ruralareas, and other activities that reflected agriculture’s multifunctionality.More attention must be paid, in all three main productiveareas, to social, cultural, and environmental aspectsoften neglected in the past. Not enough importance, moreover,has been attached to the sustainable use of the region’senormous resources with regard to biodiversity, fresh wateravailability, and marine resources. Not enough concernhas been shown, either, for the direct impact of productivesystems on water and soil resources and tree cover, or theimpact of deforestation, the expansion of the agriculturalfrontier, and climate change.It is to be hoped that the AKST system will manage toreconcile conflicting goals such as competitiveness, on theone hand, and environmental, economic and social sustainabilityon the other.3. In response to social demands, the AKST systemagenda has become more diverse and complex. In itsefforts to address problems like poverty, food security,environmental degradation, deforestation, biodiversityloss, natural disasters, and global climate change, ithas incorporated social, economic, and environmentalconsiderations as well as the notion of working withall the links in production chains, from primary productionto marketing. Yet few AKST system institutionscan, by themselves, respond to such diverse and complexdemands in a holistic manner.Strengthening cooperation through global, regional andnational networks, with proper strategic planning, executionand follow-up, is essential. Such networks should bemore systemic and incorporate more broadly the varioussocial actors. This will put to the test the solidarity and coresponsibilitybetween countries and institutions.4. The AKST agenda has not paid enough attention tothe problems that affect the nutrition, health, and wellbeingof the urban and rural poor. There is a need todesign, fund, and implement an agenda in favor of the poorat the global, regional and national level.5. The AKST system has made significant agronomiccontributions that have mostly benefited large producersand well-organized medium producers. Traditional,indigenous, and agroecological producers, who share a limitedavailability of resources and are less organized, havenot benefited as much. Their equitable participation in definingthe AKST agenda has not yet been achieved. There isa need to develop a participatory innovation and developmentsystem that can meet the needs of these three groups,take into account their capabilities, and help them fulfilltheir potential.6. Investment in agricultural research and development(R&D) in LAC varies among countries and subregionsbut in all cases is lower than in industrializednations, and even developing countries in other regions.There is a need to increase government funding ofAKST systems, since for developing countries it remains thebest investment.7. In spite of AKST’s contributions to agricultural productionand productivity, recent decades have ironicallyseen a decrease in public funding. Regulationsgoverning relevant institutions, moreover, are not conduciveto research. This generates uncertainty as well as the inefficientuse of resources. There is a need to provide public institutionswith sufficient funding and establish mechanisms to reduceuncertainty and improve the efficient use of resources.8. Private-sector R&D focuses on the development ofappropriable technologies that have benefited frompatent and intellectual property legislation. It has alsoplayed an important role in the local adaptation of technologiescoming from industrialized nations. However, AKSTcontributions by the private sector do not meet developmentneeds, particularly among traditional and indigenousproducers. LAC needs an increase in private investment onagricultural research and development. This, in turn, entailspublic policies that will encourage such research. In certaincountries, political, economic and institutional problemshave limited policies of this nature. The hope is to achieve


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 77an appropriate balance in this area between the interests ofproducers and society, on one hand, and on the other a fairretribution for private investment.9. International cooperation and NGOs have also engagedin efforts to supplement the role of governmentbodies in AKST, mainly in the environmental, culturaland social fields. But such efforts have been scattered,insufficient, and lacking in continuity. It will benecessary to increase such investments and promote theirintegration into the AKST system.10. Several factors, external to agricultural technicaldevelopment, condition AKST’s potential to build moreproductive, sustainable, and equitable systems thatcontribute to food supply, food security, and povertyreduction. AKST has not been taken into consideration asmuch as it should have when formulating macroeconomic,commercial, and financial policies and those related to accessto markets, education, and information. It will be necessaryto find mechanisms to better link the AKST systemwith policy-makers and implementers.11. In the region, the lack of strategic plans, and thepoor participation of the AKST system in their formulation,has prevented an integral response to complexrural issues. The AKST system must be an integralpart of the promotion, design, and execution of strategicplans.12. Although society has a good perception of the AKSTsystem, there is a certain ignorance of the importanceand impact of agricultural technology, hence little socialsupport for AKST, and adverse reactions to technology thatare often baseless or negatively influenced by prejudices.Improved communication on the importance and potentialpositive effect of agricultural technology, based on a strategyof transparency and accountability, is a must.13. Research institutions benefiting from public fundinglack balance in their human resources, in termsof the variety of disciplines and cultures represented,and in terms of gender. Moreover, their researchers andsupport staff are growing older and few institutions have aprogram to renew their personnel. Programs must be developedthat contemplate the training, updating, and diversificationof scientific and technical cadres through incentivesthat encourage research in priority fields.14. The AKST system has contributed to improvingproduction and productivity (with subregional differences),but mainly within the conventional or productivistsystem.15. The AKST system has not interacted sufficientlywith traditional or indigenous systems, nor has it takenadvantage of their capabilities and potentialities.16. The agroecological system has emerged as an optionfor finding solutions to environmental, economic,and sociocultural problems. It has arisen as a result ofthe interaction between the AKST system and producerswho share such concerns.17. Technological development has sometimes had itsenvironmental and social costs. The balance of agricultural,economic, social, cultural, and environmentalimpacts has not been studied thoroughly enough. Neitherhave strategies been developed to mitigate the negativeeffect of various technologies and production systems.There is a need to assess the results of AKST in a holisticmanner, bearing in mind not only their economic and productiveimpact but also their environmental, social, cultural,and political implications.2.1 Inventory, characterization and evolutionof the AKST system and its interactionsLatin America has a rich tradition of individual and institutionalefforts in science, technology, and knowledge regardingagriculture. They have made significant contributions tomany countries in the region. LAC’s different sub-regionshave an abundant but heterogeneous AKST system structure,with major differences between countries involvingnumerous institutions and organizations—public, private,local, national, regional, and international—as well as bilateraland multilateral cooperation programs, sometimeswith contrasting agendas and capabilities.The AKST system in LAC has gradually incorporateddifferent institutions, programs, and other cooperationmechanisms—the aim having been to provide the neededgeographical and thematic coverage. It has also sought totake advantage of, coordinate, and integrate the efforts ofvarious types of public and private stakeholders at differentlevels (local, national, regional, and international). Asa result, it has become a complex weave of institutions,programs, and cooperation mechanisms involving (1) localand third sector organizations; (2) National AgriculturalResearch Institutes (NARIs), universities and other nationalorganizations; (3) regional centers; (4) cooperative programs;(5) consortia and specialized networks; (6) internationalcenters such as Consultative Group on InternationalAgricultural Research (CGIAR) and Global Forum on AgriculturalResearch (GFAR); (7) Regional Fund for AgriculturalTechnology (FONTAGRO); and (8) Regional Forumfor Agricultural Research and Technological Development(FORAGRO) (Figure 2-1).2.1.1 Local and third sector organizationsThe complex and intricate network of local organizations,each with its own links to and interactions with the AKSTsystem, generates opportunities but also constraints thathave expressed themselves in different ways, especially inthe last three decades. There is a rich and varied experiencein the creation and successful operation of civil societyinstitutions that support publicly funded AKST system programs.In Mexico, for instance, studies have been made of“interest groups”—in this case, farmers—who have voluntarilyorganized themselves in Patronatos to provide moral,political, and economic support to research programs ofinterest, implemented in INIFAP’s experimental fields (Box2-1).The main constraints on the interactions between NGOs


78 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportFigure 2-1. Regional agricultural technology innovation system for the Americas. Source: Ardila,2006and AKST system institutions can be attributed to regionalcontrasts within each country, decision-making of a politicalnature, and limited social participation. They also reflect atrend toward privatizing research, technical assistance, andtechnology transfer to small and medium-scale producers,as a result of administrative decentralization, structural adjustment,and market liberalization—all phenomena thathave accelerated in the last two decades (Quiroz, 2001).Several countries have attempted, through public policies,to develop production systems that break the cycle ofexclusion and environmental degradation, and also incorporatea gender perspective and an indigenous and Afro-American worldview. However, much remains to be doneto ensure the real participation of those stakeholders indecision-making at the local level (Dirven, 2001).Rural societies are also becoming more complex. Moreinteractions between different types of stakeholders blur theboundaries between the rural and the urban. New scenariosare emerging, created by the demands of the various actorsand their respective local organizations.With regard to the AKST system, local developmentprocesses pursued by communities, either independentlyor in partnership with universities, foundations, corporations,cooperatives, producers’ associations, and both nationaland international non-governmental organizations,offer the possibility of reappraising traditional knowledge,developing greater negotiating power, improving territorialmanagement, and strengthening claims for access to land.This is evident in various social movements such as the Zapatistasin Chiapas, Mexico; the Landless Peasants’ Movementin Brazil; and the claims of the Mapuche indigenouspeople in Chile and Argentina—all of which have had localimpact as well as regional and international repercussionson the design of a new paradigm regarding AKST at theLatin American level.Most Latin American states have not yet resolved theiragrarian problem, one that affects their respective societies,particularly local rural sector organizations. However, thisphenomenon is no longer associated exclusively with therural milieu, but has also spread to urban areas (Machado2004).In spite of some isolated experiences, new advances inAKST involving bioelectronics, bioinformatics, and biotechnologyhave not been widely adopted by local organizationsor campesino farmers. Moreover, no reconciliationprocesses have emerged to take advantage of their positiveaspects (Amaya and Rueda, 2004; León et al., 2004).2.1.2 National organizationsLAC’s AKST system is made up of a vast network of public,private, and third sector institutions in the various countriesthat have generally had a major impact, reflecting therelative importance of agriculture to the region. Within thissystem, the national public agricultural research institutes,generally known as NARIs (or INIAs in Spanish), have along history—many were created more than half a centuryago—and have played a significant role in generating technologiesfor this sector.Just as LAC is a heterogeneous geographic area, theNARIs of the different countries also display varied characteristics.Some enjoy a high profile and receive the majorshare of their country’s investment in agricultural science


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 79Box 2-1. Synthesis: Assessment of the Patronatos that support AKST—Experiences in MexicoThe Patronatos are civil society organizations that support agriculturalor livestock research in Mexico. They are led and financedto varying degrees by farmers, the main users of the products andservices generated by publicly funded agricultural research institutions.They are an example of synergy between civil society andgovernment, within what is known as “participation and/or socialmonitoring of innovation”, which helps to ensure an appropriatecorrelation between the AKST System agenda and users’ needs,and contributes to transparency and accountability.The Patronatos offer the following advantages: they providemoral, political and economic support to specific research andtechnology transfer projects of interest to their members; theypromote positive synergies between the federal institutions responsiblefor research and civil society (producers and agro-entrepreneurs)as well as the users of the products and servicesgenerated, such as improved seeds, vaccines, and technologicalknow-how and innovations. They ensure that agriculturalresearch projects meet the interests of the productive sector. Inaddition, they facilitate and promote the early and rapid adoptionby farmers of innovations.The Mexican federal government, through INIFAP, covers salariesand part of the operating and investment costs, which arecomplemented by the Patronatos’ own contributions. In times offinancial crisis, this helps to reduce or mitigate government budgetcuts and ensure the continuity of the research projects underexecution.Although their effectiveness varies, other advantages offeredby the Patronatos are setting research priorities based on realneeds; encouraging researchers to generate results that are applicablein real agroecological and economic conditions; establishingpermanent communications between researchers andfarmers; enhancing the credibility and acceptance of the technologygenerated; taking advantage of the experience and vision offarmers; administering resources more efficiently and promptly;building consensus; diversifying the sources of financing; and reducingpolitical influence in decision-making.Most Patronatos have been established by groups of organizedmarket-oriented farmers with medium to large-scale operations.Small subsistence-oriented farmers with few resources andlittle organization have not participated.The Patronatos’ performance has been variable, with notableexamples of effectiveness, efficiency, and continuity over severaldecades, and also failures due to interference by federal or stategovernments; the use of the Patronato and its resources for partypolitics; conflicts of interest in the management of resources, andthe improper use of the Patronatos’ products (improved seeds,services, etc.) for personal benefit.The Patronatos’ success or failure reflects the degree of organization,education, and civic responsibility of the farmers and localofficials involved, and is expressed in their solidarity on issuesof community interest, as well as in joint responsibility, synergyand respect between society and the government. It would beuseful to study the development, operation and performance ofthese institutions, since they constitute a first step in a strategyof “participatory innovation development” and are an example of“social monitoring of innovation”.and technology as well as regional investments. These includeEmpresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, or BrazilianAgricultural Research Institute (EMBRAPA) in Brazil,Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrícolas yPecuarias, or National Forestry, Agricultural and LivestockResearch Institute (INIFAP) in Mexico, Instituto Nacionalde Tecnologia Agropecuaria, or National Agricultural TechnologyInstitute (INTA) in Argentina, Instituto Nacionalde Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) in Venezuela andCorporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria,or Colombian Agricultural Research Institute (Corpoica) inColombia. In other countries, investment in AKST systemhas been limited and no significant institutional structureexists at the national level.Parallel to the work carried out by NARIs, universitieshave played a significant role in basic and applied research,and some have made important contributions tothe dissemination of technology in the region. In general,coordination between NARIs and universities has not beensatisfactory and, except in some specific cases, is an aspectthat deserves greater attention, since the capabilities of bothtypes of institutions could be enhanced, as shown by somesuccess stories.Certain LAC countries also have national science andtechnology institutions of a more general nature, with additionalcenters specializing in topics related to agricultureand natural resources. These have made important contributionsin some fields, mainly basic research. However,it should be noted that the lack of coordination betweenscientific research and technology development is a featurecommon to nearly all countries.In the larger countries with political structures involvingdecentralized resources at the provincial or state level,the AKST system usually includes public institutions of aprovincial or regional nature, often specializing in certaincrops, production areas, or issues of local importance. Someof these have made important contributions to the developmentof specific activities; such is the case of the ObispoColombres Experimental Station, in Argentina’s TucumanProvince, with regard to sugarcane production and otherproducts of local interest.In most LAC Countries, the public AKST system developedvigorously in its initial stages and made substantivecontributions during the 1960s, 1970s, and part of the1980s. However, the situation changed in the last two decades,when their relative importance and contributions declinedwith regard to conventional/productivist agriculturevis-à-vis the private sector. This has resulted from two si-


80 | Latin America and the Caribbean Reportmultaneous processes: (1) a gradual decline in the importanceand, in many cases, in the competencies of the state, whichhas led to reductions in the budgets allocated to AKST, and incertain cases to the closure or merger of institutions specializedin this field; and (2) economic, social and technologicalprocesses, particularly in the Southern Cone, that have affectedthe agricultural sector in recent decades, particularlythe scale and concentration of production. Both processeshave placed greater emphasis on appropriable technologiesdirected at increasing productivity, with the private sectorplaying a key role in generating and adapting technology,mainly in fields related to plant and animal genetics, chemicalfertilizers, health products, and agricultural machinery.The scale of the R&D investments needed to obtaintechnology products consistent with growing demands forcompetitiveness in modern agriculture means that manyR&D efforts are beyond the scope of national science andtechnology (S&T) bodies. In many cases such initiatives canonly be undertaken by global technology firms, which obtainbenefits through the sale of inputs and capital goods,and income from royalties for developments protected byintellectual-property rights.In some countries, private mechanisms for generatingand disseminating technology have eclipsed the work of publicinstitutions, whose efforts have focused on addressingthe needs of small- and medium-sized farmers—groups thatare seldom of interest to firms that supply inputs, particularlywhen the potential customers are not able to purchasethem in significant quantities.Beyond the role of the private companies specialized ingenerating innovations and technology for the agriculturalsector, private or public-private partnerships based on productionchains have emerged in recent years that, in some countriesof the region, implement research programs on topicsthey themselves have identified. Such innovative, albeit incipient,activities are carried out in close association with scienceand technology institutions and universities, and are goodexamples of identifying demands and engaging in planningand coordination to resolve technological problems.Many significant advances in technology have beenachieved by “catching up” with technologies generated indeveloped countries and adapting them to local or regionalconditions in different countries. This has led to some verycompetitive developments in certain crops and regions—especially in temperate zones—with relatively little effort orinvestment in science and technology at the national level,by simply adapting the technology of other countries withsimilar agroecological conditions. However, it should benoted that certain LAC countries with fewer resources, particularlythose in tropical and subtropical zones, have beenunable to address specific local needs due to the lack of basicand applied research, and because they have not developedsufficient capacity in the field. 9National public institutions has focused R&D mainly9It should be noted that in developed countries, technology fortemperate zone crops is more readily available than for tropicalones; consequently, there are fewer possibilities of using foreigntechnology and adapting it to the tropical climate of LACcountries.on the most relevant ways of improving farmers’ livelihoodsand incomes, while social and environmental aspects havetraditionally received less attention. It is only in the last twodecades that these issues have become more important inNARIs’ activities.The region’s public AKST system has also placed greateremphasis on generating “hard” production technologiesthan on “soft” organizational technologies, due to the characteristicsof its own member institutions. This has hinderedtheir linkages with production models—a situationaggravated by the fact that technology products are oftengenerated from the supply side, without considering the needsand capabilities of their recipients. As a result, supportis growing for a line of thought that holds that the managementof technological development should involve a greaterparticipation by end users.Demand-side requirements are becoming increasinglyimportant in determining the types of technologies needed.Consumers and more concentrated distribution channelsrequire new services like product traceability, certificationsof origin and processes, respect for the environment, and“natural” products. This, in turn, has placed new demandson the AKST system.Given that technology is both an economic and a socialgood, and given the negative social and economic trendsin many Latin American and Caribbean countries in recentyears, public AKST institutions have begun to incorporatesocial issues, such as subsistence agriculture and urban agriculture,in their agendas. However, S&T institutions are stilla long way from being able to respond to specific demandsin terms of developing appropriate technologies for the mostdisadvantaged sectors.In some countries, extension and technology transfersystems have undergone major changes in the last two decadesas a result of public institutions assigning greater importanceto social issues and to small farmers due to theaforementioned emergence of the private sector as the mainprovider of appropriable technologies to larger producers,toward whom agricultural extension and technology transferis generally directed. For specific types of farmers, independentprofessionals—both agronomists and veterinarians—are an important factor in technological development.It should be noted that in some cases there is an importantspillover effect, with the technology used by largerproducers being adopted by small farmers, especially whenthey are not prevented from doing so by economic or culturalconstraints.2.1.3 Regional organizations, international centersand other regional cooperation mechanismsLAC has had a long experience—more than half a century—ofregional cooperation between countries and institutionson agricultural research and education. The existenceof common problems in different regional and sub-regionalspheres and in some fields of interest, as well as the constraintsencountered in attempting to develop significantindependent agricultural research programs, especially inthe smaller countries, led to the implementation of variousinitiatives. In some cases, these efforts were consolidated innew regional institutional structures: In others, they resultedin joint or cooperative research projects and programs


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 81and a growing exchange of knowledge 10 among the region’snational institutes, and between these and various regionaland international institutions.Some regional organizations are of long standing andin some countries even predate the creation of the nationalinstitutes (NARIs). One example is Inter-American Instituteof Agricultural Sciences, currently known as the Inter-AmericanInstitute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), an institutioncreated in 1942 in Turrialba, Costa Rica, where anexperimental station and postgraduate education center wasestablished that subsequently led to the creation of TropicalAgriculture Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)in 1973. In that year, the research and training activitieswere separated from more comprehensive efforts of hemisphericscope undertaken by IICA, which established itsheadquarters in the canton of Coronado, also in Costa Ricabut in the outskirts of the country’s capital.Also In the mid-1970s, the twelve members of the CaribbeanCommunity (CARICOM), a trade and integrationinitiative, created Caribbean Agricultural Research and DevelopmentInstitute (CARDI) with the aim of strengtheningagricultural research and development activities and supportingthe agricultural sectors of member countries. Thesefunctions had previously been carried out by a regionalResearch Center, created in 1955 by the English-speakingCaribbean countries to meet the growing and increasinglycomplex challenges of agriculture.In addition to the sub-regional centers mentionedabove, in the 1970s and 1980s the NARIs and other publicand private institutions of LAC countries gradually establishedcooperative agricultural research programs (knownas PROCIs), which have grown notably and continue tofunction today. These programs evolved, from initial exchangesof knowledge among participating institutions, tothe execution of joint research activities and the implementationof regional research projects and informal training efforts.Nowadays there are various cooperative programs forseveral topics and for all the sub-regions of the Americas. 1110Known generally as “spillover”11The Cooperative Research and Technology Transfer Programfor the Northern Region, involving Canada, Mexico,and the U.S. (PROCINORTE); the Caribbean AgriculturalScience and Technology Networking System for the CARDIcountries plus Suriname (PROCICARIBE); the Central AmericanCooperative Program for the Improvement of Crops andAnimals (PCCMCA); the regional Cooperative Program forthe Technological Development and Modernization of CoffeeCultivation in Central America and the Dominican Republic(PROMECAFE); the Central American Agricultural TechnologyIntegration System, involving the Central Americancountries and Panama (SICTA); the Cooperative Researchand Technology Transfer Program for the Andean Subregion,which includes Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia andVenezuela (PROCIANDINO); the Cooperative Research andTechnology Transfer Program for the South American Tropics,covering Brazil and the countries of the Amazon Basin—Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela(PROCITROPICOS); and the Cooperative Program for theDevelopment of Agricultural Technology in the SouthernThe majority of these initiatives received support from IICAand the IDB during their initial stages. Such cooperativemechanisms, which do not require new institutional structures,have had a positive impact in promoting technologicaldevelopment in the countries involved, as shown by variousimpact assessments.There are also consortia and specialized networks fordifferent topics, products, and sub-regions that have receivedsupport from FAO’s national and regional offices andother international institutions. Some of the most importantinclude the regional Cooperative Potato Program; the regionalCooperative Program on Beans for Central America,Mexico and the Caribbean; the regional Maize Program, coordinatedby the International Maize and Wheat ImprovementCenter (CIMMYT); the Latin American AgriculturalConservation Network; the Consortium for the SustainableDevelopment of the Andean Ecoregion; the InternationalNetwork of Farming Systems Research Methodology;the Technical Cooperation Network on Plant Biotechnology;and various cooperative research programs funded bythe United States Agency for International Development(USAID) and administered by US universities.LAC’s institutional AKST system also has two other typesof components, implemented in the 1990s in an effortto complete the region’s institutional architecture and fillsome of the gaps observed in its functioning: FONTAGROand FORAGRO.The Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FON-TAGRO) is a consortium created to promote strategic agriculturalresearch of regional scope with direct participationby LAC countries in setting priorities and funding researchprojects. It was established by a group of countries of theregion 12 with sponsorship from IDB, IICA, the RockefellerFoundation, and Canada’s International Development ResearchCenter (IDRC). Its purpose its to improve the competitivenessof the agricultural sector, ensure the sustainablemanagement of natural resources, and work to reduce povertythrough the development of technologies that qualifyas international public goods. It should do this by facilitatingthe exchange of scientific knowledge within the regionand with other regions of the world.The goal is to establish an endowment fund of 200 milliondollars and use the annual dividends to provide sustainednon-reimbursable financing for regional strategicresearch projects. Project funding is allocated through acompetitive mechanism based on projects’ coherence withthe Fund’s objectives and on technical, economic, environmentaland institutional criteria established for the priorityresearch areas defined in the Medium Term 2005-2010 Plan.The design and execution of the proposals is undertaken bydifferent organizations in the Fund’s member countries (researchinstitutes, universities, foundations, private groups),Cone, which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay,and Uruguay (PROCISUR).12In 2000, its members included Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia,Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay,Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela and the InternationalDevelopment Research Center (IDRC). www.fontagro.org.


82 | Latin America and the Caribbean Reporttogether with regional and international research centers,in association with national technology development organizations.Taking into account the growing importance of operatingin knowledge networks, FORAGRO is a mechanism designedto facilitate discussion and support the definition of aregional agricultural technology research and developmentagenda. FORAGRO’s general objective is to contribute tothe consolidation of the Agricultural Technology InnovationSystem for the Americas by facilitating dialogue, coordination,and strategic alliances between the stakeholdersthat comprise national, regional, and international technologyresearch and development systems. In 1997, the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA) decided to supportthe Forum’s creation and asked IICA to set up its TechnicalSecretariat. In May 1998, FORAGRO held its first meeting.The Forum includes a wide range of members: national publicand private agricultural research institutions, national scienceand technology councils, university education centersand private sector organizations, producers’ associations,NGOs, public and private foundations that implement orpromote technological innovation, sub-regional cooperativeresearch programs, regional networks, CATIE and CARDIcenters, CGIAR Centers located in the Americas, as well asFONTAGRO and IICA, which acts as the Forum’s TechnicalSecretariat. 13 Although FORAGRO does not have officialrepresentation in CGIAR, it plays an important role in thedesign of that body’s overall strategy by providing regionalinputs for determining its priorities at the global level.Finally, the regional Technology Research and DevelopmentCenter of the Americas is supported by the internationalcenters of CGIAR, the main global agriculturalresearch network. Three of these centers are located in theLAC Region: CIMMYT, headquartered in Mexico; InternationalCenter for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), based inColombia; and the International Potato Center (CIP), headquarteredin Peru. The region also receives support fromthe network of international research centers for differentactivities and products with headquarters in other countries,including those specializing in policy (International FoodPolicy Research Institute—IFPRI), plant genetic resources(International Plant Genetics Resources Institute, nowknown as Bioversity International—IPGRI), livestock production(International Livestock Research Institute—ILRI),and forestry and agroforestry (Center for InternationalForestry Research—CIFOR, and the International Centerfor Research in Agroforestry—ICRAF). All these institutescarry out activities in LAC and in some cases have offices inseveral countries in the region (Box 2-2).In brief, we can say that the present AKST system inLAC consists of a complex web of institutions, programsand other cooperation mechanisms created over time withthe aim of ensuring sufficient spatial and thematic coverage,and taking advantage of potential contributions from13FORAGRO implements biannual plans based on the interactionbetween the agreed political-institutional lines of actionand the priority technical lines of action, consisting of 11 majorresearch topics adopted for hemispheric cooperation (www.iicanet.org/foragro).public and private stakeholders at the different levels (local,national, regional and international) (Figure 2-1).Nevertheless, various authors have noted that the lackof inter-institutional links has been a major weakness ofAKST systems in LAC (Níckel, 1989; Eckboir et al., 2003;Parellada and Eckboir, 2003; Piñeiro et al., 2003).In the Amazon region, the evolution of the institutionalcomplex has been based on integrating its important contributionat the global level to the respective national economies,and reinforcing national sovereignty in the face of thepossible internationalization of tropical rainforests (Walschburger1992; Chaves de Brito, 2001; Becker, 2005). In thissubregion, the key problem is the lack of an autonomousresearch corps and hence of regional capacity in science andtechnology for the agricultural sector (Aragón, 2001, 2005;Sicsú and Lima, 2001; Perez-Garcia and Domingue, 2004;Becker, 2005).The advance of democracy and subsequent economicliberalization at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the1990s redefined and energized the roles and functions ofthe State—all this in the context of an environmental crisisthat has encouraged new ideas within the framework ofsustainable development. Special reference must be madeto the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development(UNCED), or Earth Summit, which was held in Rio in 1992and promoted the development of AKST systems both bygovernments and non-governmental organizations.In the 21 st Century, a new AKST agenda is emergingin the region. It involves, for instance, South-South cooperationfor eco-development and sustainable water managementin the Amazon basin (Aragón, 1998), the Initiative forthe Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South Americaand the United States Agency for International Development’sAmazon Basin Conservation Initiative.2.1.4 Institutional and administrative constraints innational AKST systemsAlthough LAC’s national AKST systems vary greatly in size,organizational structure, effectiveness, and level of support,and have very different characteristics stemming from theirinstitutional, cultural and political context, a study identifieda number of common problems affecting these institutions(Nickel, 1996). The most outstanding include limitedinter-institutional cooperation (Table 2-1a), lack and poorallocation of resources (Table 2-1b), organizational andmanagement weaknesses (Table 2-1c) and labor-relatedweakness (Table 2-1d).National AKST leaders in LAC have acknowledged theexistence of these problems and several efforts have beenmade to correct them, often through externally financedprojects. ISNAR, for instance, sent specialists to variouscountries to assess their institutional situation and offer adviceon the best measures to improve organizational structureand administration and management procedures. Italso devised tools for research management and made themavailable to institutions through publications and trainingprograms. This has led to a significant improvement in theeffectiveness and efficiency of some national institutions.But many problems persist because certain institutions continueto operate in a policy and cultural environment that isnot conducive to the changes required.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 83Box 2-2. Examples of linkages between the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and civilsociety in Latin AmericaThe scientists who work at the 15 CGIAR centers collaborateclosely with a broad spectrum of civil society groups. Theseinclude farmers, producers’ associations, and community organizations.Participatory research is a way of ensuring that theresults of CGIAR’s research efforts rapidly reach small farmerswith limited resources so they can use them to improve their qualityof life and livelihoods. The examples described below offera brief synthesis of the participatory research projects currentlyunder implementation and other programs that foster importantlinkages with civil society.Local Agricultural Research Committees (CIALs). In thesecommittees, coordinated by the International Center for TropicalAgriculture (CIAT), farmers express their views on the developmentand evaluation of agricultural technologies. Researchersbenefit from the feedback provided by farmers. Farmers, in turn,are encouraged to evaluate new options for increasing agriculturalproductivity and improving the management of natural resources.Currently, 249 local committees are active in eight Latin Americancountries. The benefits of this initiative range from increased localcapacity in formal research methods and improved local planningand management skills to a greater availability of improved seed,not to mention food security. For example, in Cauca, Colombia,over 80% of farmers from the village of Pescador have adopteda bean variety recommended by the local committee. CIAT hasestimated a 78% rate of return on investments to implement theCIALs approach (www.ciat.cgiar.org).Learning partnerships for agribusiness development in LatinAmerica. CIAT, in association with CARE, Catholic Relief Servicesand other institutions, is creating “learning partnerships” in CentralAmerica. These innovative partnerships are made up of researchand development organizations that jointly design and implementstrategies and interventions aimed at building local capacity inspecific geographical areas. Members of these partnerships, includingfarmers, jointly analyze the strategies to determine whichones work. The lessons learned are applied and generate newlearning cycles. In Nicaragua, thanks to this participatory learningprocess, an agribusinesses initiative that began in one municipalityis now being applied in 10 others (www.ciat.cgiar.org).Combating bacterial wilt in the Andean region, CIP scientistshave developed an inexpensive detection kit that can be usedin an organized seed system to eliminate infected potato seedbefore it reaches farmers’ fields. Although crop rotation can helpeliminate the pathogen from the potato fields, the recommendedmethod—abandoning potato cultivation for a few years—is notan economically or socially viable option for thousands of poorfarmers who depend on the tuber for their income and nutrition.With CIP’s participation, farmer/researcher groups have identifieda promising solution that enables farmers working in highly infestedsoils to sanitize their fields in 9-17 months by planting threesuccessive non-solanaceous horticultural crops with high marketvalue (e.g., onion, leek, or cabbage), or two successive food cropssuch as lupine, sweet potato, or arracacha (an Andean root crop)after the potato harvest. Using this method, farmers were able torecover their fields for potato production in a short time—andalso managed to triple their potato yields (www.cipotato.org).CIMMYT and the Agricultural Research and ExperimentationBoard (Patronato) of the State of Sonora. In the Yaqui Valley inSonora, located in Northwestern Mexico, a group of private farmersand the Patronato have donated a new sprinkler and dripirrigation system to CIMMYT that will help scientists avoid waterwastage and better manage this valuable resource in a dry zone.The system will directly benefit farmers in the Yaqui Valley whoproduce wheat, maize, and other crops. Patronato leaders workon a voluntary basis and make sure that the organization onlyinvests in research efforts aimed at minimizing the obstacles toagricultural production (www.cimmyt.org).Self Help International, an NGO based in the United States,is promoting quality maize with high protein content in Nicaragua.This new and more nutritious variety of maize, developed byCIMMYT, is helping to reduce malnutrition in a community locatedin the southern tip of Lake Nicaragua (near Costa Rica) thathas the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. AfterHurricane Mitch, Self Help International, in collaboration withCGIAR, established an innovative seed bank program, giving farmersa bag of seed to be paid back later with two bags of seedthat in turn would be distributed to other farmers, allowing themto benefit from the new technology. By December 2002, morethan 7,000 farmers were planting the new maize seed (www.cimmyt.org).Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the AndeanEco-region (CONDESAN). The consortium works with the Waterand Food Challenge Program for Andean Region Watersheds.CONDESAN provides support to this program by creating linksbetween research networks, and providing its infrastructure andexperience, in order to contribute to the efficient execution ofresearch activities. By combining the program with other regionalinitiatives, CONDESAN prevents duplication of efforts whilepromoting complementary aspects and fostering synergies. Themain purpose of this collaborative effort is to promote an ecoregionalapproach to meet development challenges in the Andeanregion.Conserving agricultural biodiversity. Cassava, maize, beans,potato, and sweet potato are Latin America’s leading crops. TheCenter for Advanced Research and Studies of the National PolytechnicInstitute (CINVESTAV) brings together the main nationalresearch programs and the CGIAR centers in order to promoteconservation activities throughout the region. The InternationalPlant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), for example, has implementedan international cooperation project in nine countriesto strengthen basic science for in situ conservation of cultivatedplants and to incorporate agricultural biodiversity into agriculturaldevelopment strategies. Similarly, the Latin American andCaribbean Consortium to Support Cassava Research and Development(CLAYUCA) works to increase cassava production andexpand marketing opportunities for poor farmers throughout LatinAmerica (www.ipgri.cgiar.org).


84 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 2-1. Problems common to NARIs in LAC (Most outstanding examples).(a) Limited inter-institutional collaborationMutual antagonism and lack of cooperation between the institutions in charge of agricultural research and universities anduniversity faculties involved in agriculture.Ineffectual links between plant and livestock research.Insufficient use of socioeconomic disciplines.Research on production and on-farm systems relegated to isolated, separate organizational units.Insufficient support for the concept that researchers should carry out research on-farm from a production systems perspective.Ineffective linkages between research and extension activities.Limited interaction and linkages between public and private bodies engaged in agricultural research.Insufficient participation of producers in the definition of research agendas and the evaluation of results.Dispersion of agricultural research over a large number of ministries and other agencies.Excessive intra-institutional fractioning, with researchers and other team members spread over too many small experimentalstations or scientific fields, leading to the lack of a critical mass for the efficient use of infrastructure and proper supervision,tutoring, and collaboration.(b) Resource problemsSevere lack of resources.Allocation of resources by crop, system, product or research area that do not reflect national priorities and the needs of producers.Diluted distribution of scarce resources among a large number of crops or research areas without the necessary setting ofpriorities.Inappropriate balance of resources (the greatest percentage of budgets is assigned to paying for salaries, leaving insufficientresources for operations).A resource allocation process that is too centralized.Excessive dependence on resources from externally financed projects for the acquisition of equipment and vehicles.Inefficient use of costly equipment and specialized infrastructure due to their dispersion and fractioning, aggravated by ineffectuallinkages.Budgetary allocation guided more by experimental station than by research area.Budgets are more a compilation of “requests” than tools for the effective allocation of resources.(c) Organizational and managerial weaknessesHierarchical organizational structures and attitudes instead of “flatter” structures linked to a more collegiate management stylemore conducive to scientific innovation.Insufficient delegation of authority.Purchase of inputs that is subject to complex and slow bureaucratic procedures.Lack of management information (information systems).Inappropriate procedures for the preparation and revision of budgets.Inadequate research planning and follow-up.(d) Organizational and personnel weaknessesHierarchical organizational structures and attitudes, instead of “flatter” structures linked to a more collegiate management stylethat is more conducive to scientific innovation.Insufficient delegation of authority.Lack or weaknesses in assessing individual performance.Promotion based on seniority rather than on merit.Heads of institutions or units not chosen on the basis on their administrative performance.Inadequate training regarding leadership, administration, and management.Lack of incentives.Lack of flexibility in civil service regulations regarding the administration of human resources dedicated to agricultural research.Source: Nickel, 1996.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 85In order to overcome these problems, a variety of semiautonomousinstitutions have been established, based on theassumption that they would be free from political influencein such fields as hiring and would enjoy greater flexibility insuch areas as their administrative regulations.Often, however, the institutional changes proposedcould not be implemented, o were only done so partially.When examining the reasons, one or more of these factorsseem to have played a role: (1) the Ministry of Agricultureor its equivalent agency would not renounce control of theAKST body; (2) the new human resource policies were notall that different from those applied in Ministry departments;(3) administrative procedures and financial controlsremained too complex.Human resource issues cannot be attributed to the qualityof researchers, who are often cited as among the mostcapable and productive scientists in the field, but ratherto the working atmosphere and the resources available tothose centers. It should also be noted that simply improvingsalaries to attract and retain competent personnel doesnot automatically increase productivity nor the quality ofresearch unless, at the same time, more attention is paid tothe processes whereby staff is hired, evaluated, and providedwith incentives.Sometimes, particularly in traditional government systems,annual salary increases and promotions are based onseniority, not on productivity. The reason such systems wereadopted was to discourage “favoritism.” This is undoubtedlya consideration. However, it has become a crutch fora majority of the personnel of these institutions, aggravatedin some countries by the existence of labor laws that makeit almost impossible to sanction or fire unproductive employees.Productivity is thus rarely valued or rewarded, asevere weakness of some national institutions that, unlesscorrected, will condemn them to mediocrity.In addition, LAC’s oldest publicly funded research institutionssuch as EMBRAPA, INTA, INIA and INIFAP ofBrazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico respectively are facedwith a problem of ageing researchers and support staff. Fewof these institutions have adopted plans to renew or replacehuman resources due for retirement. In some countries, suchas Mexico, this has resulted from a government policy of“indiscriminately downsizing the state apparatus”—an issuethat merits critical assessment with a view to designingrational, efficient and effective policies.Few AKST institutions have programs for training theirscientific and technical staff and keeping them up to speedon current developments in their field, nor do they offer incentivesto attract talented young people into cutting-edgeresearch in new, highly promising fields like biotechnologyor nanotechnology. Even less attention has been paid toother fields of knowledge—economic, social, anthropological—thatare not so new or popular, but are very valuablewhen it comes to explaining and encouraging individual andcollective attitudes and actions in order to generate and implementinnovations leading to productive, sustainable andequitable development.The abovementioned challenges justify efforts to promotea greater and more effective interaction betweenresearch centers and advanced training and education institutions,and to promote their participation in projects ofinterest to their respective countries and societies involvingwhat is known as Participatory Innovation Development.In the administrative field, it is clear that senior managersof AKST institutions feel more comfortable with bureaucraticprocedures than with more flexible systems foradministering financial resources and purchasing inputs,since the former protect them from being accused of mismanagement.Safeguards or controls are necessary to preventabuses, but it is also essential to adopt more flexibleand effective administration and financing systems. This isparticularly crucial in AKST system institutions, where significantdelays in making funds available, or in purchasingequipment and inputs, can negatively affect the effectivenessof research.However, either because of the nature of their legal constitutionsor because of subsequent administrative decisionsby the Central Government, most NARIs have operatedwithin the administrative restrictions and political interferencethat characterize Latin America’s public sector (Bisang,2003).Piñeiro, (2003) cites Argentina’s National AgriculturalTechnology Institute (INTA) as an example of the progressiveerosion of their autonomy (Piñeiro et al., 2003). Createdin 1958, INTA’s charter granted it financial and administrativeautarchy. However, over the years, the political authoritiesgradually curtailed this independence, converting it defacto into an institution with the same restrictions as the restof the central administration. (Recently, this situation wasreversed when INTA recovered its budgetary autonomy.)A similar situation occurred with Mexico’s NationalAgricultural Research Institute (NARI), which was widelyrecognized for its effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.Legally, it was a deconcentrated body of the central administration;from the beginning it was endowed with a trustfund that allowed for flexible and timely financing and operationalautonomy. This mechanism was canceled in 1982,as part of a general government instruction to cancel publictrust funds, and thereafter the Institute became subject tothe regulations of the central administration, which werenot very suitable to research functions. However, nationalpublic research centers like INIFAP currently enjoy a trustfund that contributes to the flexible and timely financing oftheir research activities.At present, the effectiveness and relevance of AKST systeminstitutions is in doubt. The lack of consistent politicalsupport, the ensuing weakness and randomness of publicfunding, and institutional “obsolescence” in the face of thegrowing complexity of science and extraordinary changes inthe economic context, all call for AKST institutions in LACcountries to embrace modernization (Piñeiro and Trigo,1983), including modifications to their management processesand their links with users.To be more efficient and effective, changes to AKSTsystem institutions must be approved, implemented, andaudited. External political pressures must ensure that thesechanges are approved by higher-level government authorities.That will not be easy. This external political pressuremay be exerted more naturally and efficiently by societythrough the social oversight of stakeholders, who will ensurethat AKST institutions implement the approved changes. Inother words, the advancement of AKST systems in LAC de-


86 | Latin America and the Caribbean Reportpends in large measure on their capacity to monitor the risksand opportunities posed by their external context and theircapacity to communicate with their users and obtain theirfeedback.Such a legal framework would allow for a responsiveand flexible management style, essential for achievinggreater efficiency—including salary levels and promotionsystem for scientific personnel, flexible recruitment policies,links and associations with the private sector, royalty contracts,and/or a share in income derived from intellectualproperty. Examples of this trend in the region include Chile’sINIA and the Colombian Agrarian Research Corporation(CORPOICA) (Piñeiro, 2003). In response to this problem,Mexican lawmakers took the initiative of creating a newdefinition for public research institutions.There has also been a growing tendency among NARIsto include representatives of leading private sector trade organizationson their governing bodies at the national and regionallevels. Argentina’s INTA has enjoyed a long history inthis regard; half the members of its Board of Directors havebeen representatives of producers’ organizations since it wasestablished in 1956. Among the more interesting examplesof this trend one can mention Uruguay’s INIA, CORPOICA,and INIFAP. However, sometimes the composition or actionsof the governing body could be improved, as in thecase of INIFAP in Mexico (Piñeiro et al. 2003).2.1.5 The evolution of the AKST systemTechnology generation in LAC dates back to pre-Columbiantimes. Notable contributions have been made throughouthistory, for instance in the Andes and the Amazon basin.14 Towards the end of the nineteenth century and thebeginning of the twentieth century, the AKST system wasinstitutionalized; that is to say, the first stage of organizedagricultural research began in universities or specializednational institutions sponsored by the state. In those earlystages, these institutions were organized into departments,that is, by branches of knowledge. Their researchers interactedvery little with each other, and their sphere of actionwas the Experimental Station.In the second half of the twentieth century, farmingsystem research was incorporated, forcing researchers tointeract directly with the rural milieu. From the relativelysimple environment of the Experimental Station, the movewas made to the more complex and multifaceted contextof farms and production systems, leading to an acknowledgementof the need for interdisciplinary work. By workingwith “cooperant producers”, researchers adopted an informalbut highly effective role as extension workers that were14Among other significant innovations that have been documentedas part of Inca civilization, one can mention drainagesystems, as well as anthropic soils and other recent archaeologicalfindings in the greater Amazonian basin. The diversityof genetic resources to be found in Peru is an achievementof its indigenous peoples who, over at least 10,000 years,domesticated native plants, selected them, and adapted themto ecological niches of varying altitudes. Thanks to this, andto the domestication of various species of fauna, Peru is one ofthe richest world centers of genetic resources, having domesticated182 species of plants and five species of animals.broadly appreciated by producers. Some LAC countrieshave pursued such a researcher/extension-worker strategyas an effective means for the transfer of technology. 15In many LAC countries, however, extension serviceshave not been integrated with agricultural research efforts,often separate agencies of Agriculture Ministries. The questionof how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency oftechnical outreach and technology transfer has been, andremains, a highly significant and relevant issue.Some LAC countries have pursued a participatory strategyinvolving farmers and extension researchers as an effectivemeans of experimentation and transfer of technology(Piñeiro et al. 2003). These participatory systems have notonly become important in technology transfer and trainingprojects with low-income farmers and women but are alsobeing used for such purposes as the genetic improvement ofplants or the characterization and management of naturalresources (Araya and Hernández, 2006).One objective of participatory research programs is totake advantage of farmers’ knowledge, which obviously impliesidentifying their needs, their preferences, and the reasonsfor what they do. Although society recognizes farmers’role in managing and improving germplasm, there is littleagreement on how to appraise the role of farming communities—traditional,indigenous and agroecological systems,not conventional agricultural systems—and their potentialcontribution to formal systems of genetic improvement.Technical cooperation can only grow and develop ifpotential barriers of mistrust are discussed and addressedethically. The key issue here is to ensure that plant breeders—bothproducers and scientists—have access to germplasm.In some LAC countries, we have witnessed over the pasttwo decades a trend toward taking advantage more integrallyof existing research institutions, mostly state-sponsored, andconsidering them part of a research and technology transfersystem whose challenge is to promote a networking synergybased on interinstitutional complementarity.The design, establishment, and operation of more efficientand effective AKST systems is at different stages ofdevelopment in LAC countries, going from rhetorical discourseto efforts aimed at responding to specific demandsfrom society. In the institutional discourse, it is often saidthat institutions have evolved from a supply-driven modelto a demand-driven model. However, the weakness of AKSTsystems in most LAC countries has limited their capacityto develop interinstitutional links, as reflected in a limitednumber of partnership-based projects.A new current of thought proposes that the greatestchallenge is to shift from existing AKST systems to ParticipatoryInnovation and Development (PID) systems that focuson specific production chains or commodities. Anotherconception, wider and more inclusive, involves the applicationof such systems to watersheds as the natural spacesor territories in which one or more production chains op-15For instance, in Mexico, INIFAP formally established CattleRanchers Groups for Technology Validation and Transfer,with initially promising results (Piñeiro et al. 2003), as well asExperimental Farmers for vegetable production. In both cases,small-scale producers were targetted.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 87erate and interact with each other and with the broaderenvironment.These developments have brought about new requirementsregarding the attitudes and communication processesneeded to facilitate dialogue and linkages between, on theone hand, those who generate technological knowledge andinnovation and, on the other, those responsible for otherlinks or factors indispensable to the development, productivity,and competitiveness of the production chain or watershed—suppliers,producers, traders, and financiers, as wellas officials in charge of infrastructure, public policies, andinstitutions, and those in charge of information and communicationmechanisms aimed at enhancing participatorydevelopment.It is also necessary to improve the efficacy and efficiencyof universities and other existing research, development,and technology transfer institutions. This calls for the creationof formal and informal mechanisms for interaction,including service contracts between such institutions andprivate sector users. In that respect, special programsand mechanisms have already been established to promoteand facilitate linkages between agricultural research bodiesand farmers. 16For the past several decades, moreover, private enterprisehas become actively involved in the AKST system andhas assumed an increasingly important role in the developmentof certain innovations (such as genetic products, machinery,and agrochemicals) and their dissemination amongproducers through the sale of inputs or services. As a result,public research institutions find themselves in the dilemmaof either (1) competing, (2) withdrawing from the field andfocusing their efforts on developing other innovations, or(3) attempting to cooperate on joint strategies. In otherwords, public AKST institutions face the challenge but alsothe opportunity of working with private AKST institutionson projects of mutual interest. This decision has strategicpolitical implications that must be considered. It will testgovernments’ vision and their willingness to generate newgame rules, or standards, for public-private partnerships, inthe interest of safeguarding the interests of society.Another challenge facing AKST institutions in LAC isto take advantage of the enormous potential offered by newfields of knowledge such as biotechnology and nanotechnology,which are being incorporated at a different pace by thecountries of the region. 1716For example, INTA in Argentina has implemented atechnology transfer program, while Brazil’s EMBRAPA andChile’s INIA have special programs in their regional centers.In Mexico, INIFAP has established the Cattle Ranchers’Technology Validation and Transfer Groups, the ExperimentalFarmers, and the MOCAT groups. For its part, civil societyhas created the Patronatos and the Produce Foundations tosupport agricultural and livestock research. In Bolivia, SIBTAhas moved toward a model in which a good deal of technologicalinnovations is carried out by private foundations thatobtain financial support from the Government’s budget.17For example, biotechnology is not limited to the world ofgenetic engineering (DNA). There have been other agronomicefforts in this field, focused on integrated pest and diseasemanagement or the integrated management of agroecosys-Although such developments may offer interesting alternativesrelated to people’s well-being and quality of life,the level of investment required, together with patent- andcopyright issues, could become insurmountable obstacles totaking advantage of their potential to benefit the region’spoor. New developments are being used mostly by industryand the service sector, where users have purchasing powerand the interests of investors are protected by intellectualproperty rights and patents. One of the greatest challengesfacing small- and medium-sized countries in LAC is to review,update, and reinforce mechanisms and processes forregional cooperation in this area. Tables 2.2 and 2.3 summarizethe factors that condition AKST’s potential to developmore productive, sustainable, and equitable systems.They also summarize AKST’s most significant impacts inLatin America.2.1.6 Interactions between organizations andknowledge networksIn the early 1950s, formal national research organizationswould transfer their technological innovations throughpublic extension services and private agents. They did sowith varying degrees of success, depending on the type ofcrop, type of producer, or agroecological area. The interactionbetween science, on one hand, and local technologyand knowledge systems on the other, tended to be one way,frequently leading to the latter being undervalued.Starting roughly around the 1980s, and varying fromcountry to country, a reappraisal was made of the relationsbetween organizations and knowledge networks. Two reasonsaccounted for this: the need to provide agile and innovativeresponses to the changing environment; and theredefinition of the role of public and private actors in agriculturalresearch and technological innovation.Although the ways in which networks have developedin the different countries display major differences, someimportant changes that have occurred in the last 25 yearscan be identified across the board:In many countries, the relative importance of governmentinvestment in agricultural research declined, althoughit continued in the universities, increasingly relying on resourcesfrom the productive sector.The role of extension services has been redefined forbudgetary reasons and due to the restructuring of the state’srole in agriculture. As a result, some extension tasks havebeen privatized and different types of civil society associationsand organizations have intervened more actively in theprovision of technical support.In general, private or non-governmental actors havetaken a more active role in the generation, validation, andtransfer of agricultural technology, partly on the initiative ofagroindustrial firms and providers of seeds and inputs, buttems. Biotechnology includes knowledge and managementof soil microorganisms, different types of compost, greenmanures, forage crops, multiple-crop systems, biocultures,rhizosphere microbial cultures, efficient microorganisms, andbacteria that promote growth in plants and induce systemicresistance. These are just some examples that expand thehorizons of biotechnology, and should be given equal considerationin government financing policies (León et al., 2004).


88 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 2-2. Factors that condition AKST’s potential for developing more productive, sustainable and equitable systems.Type of factorPoliticalDescriptionLack of linkages between AKST systems and public policies—macroeconomic, commercial,financial, environmental, and related to access to markets, education, and information.Lack of policies to promote and support AKST.Lack of vision on the strategic role of the sector.Regulatory insecurity.InstitutionalEconomicSocialLack of cooperation in national, regional and international AKST networks.Lack of strategic plans and AKST participation in the same.Ageing of scientists and technicians and lack of human-resource policies within the system.Lack of balance in human resources with regard to interdisciplinary, intercultural, and genderissues.Lack of linkages between research and technology transfer.Reduction of public investment in AKST.Insufficient private investment in AKST.Lack of acknowledgement of the importance and impact of AKST among the general population(reflected in little public investment in AKST).Lack of participation of social actors in defining the agenda and management of AKST Systems.Source: Authors’ elaborationTable 2-3. Most important impacts of AKST Systems in Latin America.ProductiveAspects Positive Impacts Negative Impacts and Risks• Improvement in crop and animalproduction yields by surface and waterquantity, mainly in conventional productionsystems.• Development of new varieties and racesthat are resistant to diseases and adaptedto different agro-ecological conditions.• Development of safer and higher-qualityproducts.• Generation of new agriculturaltechnologies.• Loss of agro-biodiversity.• Loss of soil fertility.• Loss of productive systems’ resilience.• Negative impacts on health due to lack of hygiene andon-the-job safety.Economic• Reduction in production costs.• Reduction in food prices, particularly forbasic food items.• Increase in the income and profits ofconventional farmers.• Increase in countries’ GDP and exports.• Access to new markets for traditional,indigenous, and agro-ecological farmers.• Reductions in employment.• Migration.• Concentration of profits.• Lower incomes for traditional or indigenous farmers.EcologicalSocial• Soil and water conservation in someproduction systems.• Generation of less polluting agrochemicals.• Improvements in the social conditionsof conventional and agro-ecologicalproducers.• Loss of agro-biodiversity and wildlife biodiversity.• Contamination of water and soils by agrochemicals.• Contributions to climate change.• Little impact on the social conditions of traditional andindigenous producers.• A devaluation of local knowledge.Source: Authors’ elaboration.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 89also due to a greater role by local and international NGOsand producers’ associations themselves.There has been a revaluation of farmers’ own knowledgeof agroecosystems and production systems better suitedto local conditions. This has coincided with agroecologicalstudies that examine comprehensively the complexity ofthese systems from a scientific perspective.Our understanding of the interfaces between local technologicalknowledge systems and the scientific-technical systemhas improved with experiences in cooperation or jointexperimentation. Studies have begun on both the constructiveand negative interactions between formal and informalnetworks for the dissemination of agricultural knowledge.Formal research networks are beginning to transcendthe national sphere through joint efforts at the internationallevel, although this remains incipient.The development of such interactions differs greatly, especiallybetween relatively small countries and larger oneswhere the size of the agricultural sector itself, and publicand private investment, have made it possible to establishinstitutions with more significant human and financial resourcesand their work has developed on a larger scale andwith a more long-term projection, as in the case of Brazil,Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela.In Central America, by contrast, the economic problemsand policies of the 1980s, together with structuraladjustment and state reform, led to a weakening of publicagricultural research institutions and their links with internationalorganizations and local universities, where a goodpart of formal agricultural and livestock studies continuedto be carried out. Some undergraduate and postgraduateeducation centers with international projection, however,continued to promote concerted research efforts andserved to link researchers within and outside their respectivecountries—such as the Tropical Agriculture Researchand Higher Education Center (CATIE), the Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School, in Honduras, and the EscuelaAgricola de la Region del Tropico Humedo (EARTHUniversity).At the same time, the “Farmer to Farmer” movementand analogous experiences supported by producers’ organizationsand non-governmental cooperation agenciesencouraged smallholder (campesino) experimentation, reconfiguredthe relations between technicians, scientists andfarmers, and promoted alternative technological approachesin pursuit of a greater agroecological and social sustainability.In the 1990s, efforts began to develop more participatoryrelations between public and private stakeholdersengaged in producing and transferring technological knowledge.Such efforts involved exploring more participatoryforms of research and extension, setting agendas throughconsultations and negotiations, and testing different formsof participation by farmers and their organizations in thevarious phases of the research process as well as in the assessmentand dissemination of results. Different positionshave been taken on the effectiveness of these activities, albeitat a very preliminary stage. But it is clear that consensusmechanisms are required in public-private agricultural andlivestock research that may take a variety of forms and followdifferent paths.2.1.7 Society’s perception of AKST systemsThe public perception of science and technology may be definedas a set of factors that have to do with the general public’sunderstanding, knowledge, and attitudes towards scientificand technological activities (Albornoz et al., 2003).It is important to note that society has a positive perceptionof science in general, and technology in particular. Thisattitude is associated with the notions of modernity thatprevailed over recent decades. However, negative views oftechnology, usually associated with concerns over environmentaland social crises, also exist. (Albornoz et al., 2003;Piñeiro et al., 2003; Casanovas, 2006).The lack of response to environmental problems linkedto agricultural production techniques—like the contaminationof water, soil and food with agrochemicals, the lossof biodiversity, and the clear-cutting of forests to expandthe agricultural frontier—has often provoked deterministpostures among certain sectors of society, especially socialmovements and NGOs linked to the rural sector. Much ofthe debate around these issues is based on a lack of information,or incomplete or biased information. This underscoresthe importance of promoting an effective liaison with themass media (Albornoz et al., 2003).A greater participation by society in the social oversightof AKST system institutions, both in terms of their workagenda and their performance, is also needed—among otherreasons, to provide moral and political support through“positive external political pressure” on AKST system institutions,as well as on the Government itself. (SECYT, 1997;Polino et al., 2003) (Box 2-3.)2.2 Research Approach, Agenda, andProcesses2.2.1 The AKST system agendaFrom 1945 onwards, the AKST system agenda in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean (LAC) had a strong biologicalorientation and was driven by agricultural export activitiesbased on the premises of modernization and import substitution(Dixon and Gibbob, 2001; Ballarin, 2002; Kalmanovitzand López, 2006; Méndez, 2006). These lent specialweight to economies of scale.The current agenda and processes for generating knowledgeand technological innovation in AKST institutions inLAC have become more diverse and complex. Nowadays,AKST system institutions are expected to address issues relatedto all the links in the agricultural production chain.At the national level, AKST institutions face growingchallenges in their efforts to address a wide range of diverseresearch agendas. These are aimed at generating:1. Technological innovations for specific production systemsof strategic interest to a particular country and/orwatershed;2. Innovations to explore and develop new agriculturalproducts with high export value;3. Innovations aimed at benefiting the poor and designedto meet their needs.The design, application and financing of some of these researchagendas has been, is, and will remain the responsibilityof the state, since the goal is to generate public goods


90 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportBox 2-3. Civil society’s role in supporting the AKSTSystem—the case of the Produce Foundations, MexicoAccording to a recent assessment (Ekboir et al. 2006), theProduce Foundations have been a highly significant institutionalinnovation in Mexico. In their ten-year history, the ProduceFoundations have promoted links between the federaland state political authorities, on the one hand, and rural productionsectors on the other, to support the transformation ofpublic research organizations and influence the design andimplementation of agricultural policies, including scientific,technological, and innovation policies for the rural milieu. Newchannels of interaction have also opened up between federaland state authorities, on the one hand, and groups of commercialagricultural producers on the other.Mostly, these impacts did not originate in the activities forwhich the Foundations were established—that is, administeringcompetitive funds for agricultural research and extension—buton actions the Foundations themselves started toengage in as they evolved.The growth of the Foundations was made possible by thepresence of a group of highly motivated and innovative individuals(Ekboir et al. 2006). They did not work only for theFoundations but also for the federal government and severalstate governments. Acknowledging the central role of suchindividuals is crucial for the design of policies and programs.Frequently a great deal of attention is paid to building organizationsand regulations, while their effectiveness often dependson the people who are involved in the administrationand operation of those organizations (Ekboir et al. 2006).The Foundations have had a significant impact becausethey have developed effective learning mechanisms. Initially,research priorities and the selection of projects to be financedwere determined in an ad hoc manner. Currently, the Foundationsuse structured methods to identify priorities and haveadopted a clear division of tasks between the state levels, onthe one hand, and regional and national levels on the other.They have also established new contractual mechanisms totransfer resources to researchers and providers of agriculturalservices.By contrast, aspects related to extension have not receivedsufficient attention and until now remain one of theweaker aspects of the Foundations’ work. For this reason,extension services are another area of opportunity.According to Ekboir et al., 2006, the future recognition ofthe Produce Foundations will largely depend on their capacityto continue offering valuable elements for the consolidation ofthe agricultural innovation system and for the transformationof agricultural research organizations into more efficient andeffective institutions in generating or identifying products andservices to support innovation in the production processes.Diversifying their funding sources and encouraging increasedcontributions of resources from state governmentsand from the users themselves for innovation projects of mutualinterest is another short-term challenge facing the ProduceFoundations.for society as a whole but mainly for the poorest sectors.Due to their implications, other efforts regarding the AKSTsystem agenda, such as the development of new agriculturalproducts with high export value, will have to be financedmainly by the private sector. However, government supportshould not ruled out, given the interest by any country inimproving its balance of trade.A wide range of issues, such as postharvest handling,food safety, nutraceuticals, and organic products, also formpart of society’s new and growing demands. For this reason,it is said that today’s AKST system agenda is driven more byconsumers than producers.Such considerations, together with a growing environmentalawareness, means that some sectors of society expectAKST institutions to address and reconcile seeminglyconflicting objectives, like productivity and environmentalsustainability (Moncada and Muñoz, 1999).Countries also face the challenge of responding to subregionalAKST agendas (in Central America, the Caribbean,the Southern Cone, and the Andean countries) that are directedat generating knowledge and technological innovationsand providing relevant subregional public goods forlocal application in fields such as:• Climate change• Diseases• Biodiversity• Water availability and quality• Land degradation• Management of persistent organic residues• Air pollutionTraditional government institutions have little capacity tomeet such a broad array of demands. As a result, othershave begun to emerge. They specialize in specific areas, suchas postharvest handling, food quality and safety, and certainpromising cutting-edge fields such as biotechnology and geneticengineering.We are just beginning to witness the emergence of institutionsin a front-line scientific field—nanotechnology.As what might be considered an unprecedented preventiveaction, governments, industry and the world’s research organizationshave started to study ways to take advantageof its potential benefits while minimizing its potential risks.However, despite commitments to that effect, many opportunitieshave been missed to establish cooperative researchprograms.The following question, however, remains unanswered:who will finance research projects aimed at using the potentialof nanotechnology in areas of interest to the poor, suchas health, nutrition, or energy?Reducing poverty has been a secondary concern for theAKST system agenda in LAC. The primary goal has beento boost productivity in order to increase the food supplyand reduce food prices. Implementing a research agendaaimed at helping the poor has been discussed by Hazell andHaddad (2001). More recently, in 2005, the InternationalFood Policy Research Institute organized a meeting to explorepoverty-related issues that might be of interest forpublic-private financing of pro-poor research projects.Particularly noteworthy are certain research initiativesregarding the poorest social groups (see Box 2-4). The ini-


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 91tiative by the Mexico-based International Maize and WheatImprovement Center (CIMMYT) to promote the use ofQPM (Quality Protein Maize) in several Central Americanand South American countries could be mentioned. Anotherexample is INIFAP’s adaptation of genetic materialproduced by CIMMYT to areas with a high concentrationof poverty in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. In combinationwith the National Institute of Nutrition, INIFAP hasalready gathered statistical evidence to show the nutritionbenefits offered by these types of maize to indigenous childrenin Oaxaca.2.2.2 Clients of the AKST systemDifferent socioeconomic segments strive to determine thefocus of research in relation to their own needs and aspirations.Assessments have been carried out of the importanceto the public agricultural R&D sector of a variety ofeconomic-social segments as target groups or beneficiariesof research in the field.Castro et al. (2005) analyzed the situation in six LatinAmerican countries (Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Venezuelaand Peru). Their study revealed general agreementamong researchers in the region regarding the relatively lowimportance of social segments such as subsistence farmersand small family producers vis-à-vis medium- and largescaleproducers. This work offers at best a partial perspective—onlyresearchers were consulted. It therefore does notreflect the points of view of other sectors of society. Trigoand Kaimowitz’s research (1994) on Latin America and theCaribbean, however, confirms that the benefits derived fromthe agricultural research undertaken by NARIs were mainlydirected towards the larger, market-oriented farmers locatedin favorable ecological zones (Trigo and Kaimowitz, 1994).This view of agricultural research is much more closelylinked to economic development and agribusiness, and lessto the social development of underprivileged segments likesubsistence farmers and indigenous communities in agroecosystems(Trigo and Kaimowitz, 1994; Castro et al., 2005;Santamaría et al., 2005).A study by Castro et al. (2005) also found that nongovernmentalorganizations were considered of little importanceas agricultural research clients in Venezuela and Peru;of medium importance in Panama, Mexico and Brazil; andof high importance only in Cuba—even though Trigo andKaimowitz (1994) noted the importance of NGOs with regardto the development of sustainable technologies, whichinvolves highlighting local demands difficult to identifythrough the traditional approach to technology transfer.Decentralizing research activities through the trainingof local non-governmental organizations, extension agencies,and farmers, in order to carry out simple adaptive research,would appear to be in order (Trigo and Kaimowitz,1994). New priority clients also mentioned in studies on thesubject include public policymakers and agroindustry. Thistakes into account recent advances in scholars’ concept ofagricultural research as not only directed at rural producersbut at society as a whole—in this case, represented byconsumers.The greater importance of agroindustry as a client suggestsa conception of agricultural research as linked to productionchains and the development of processes technologycapable of adding value to primary agricultural production,as well as competitiveness to those chains. This concept,more recent in the region, replaces the view of agriculturalresearch as linked exclusively to primary production thatprevailed until the 1980s. Trends governing demand implygreater specialization and a call for technology productsaimed at a broader typology of producers (Lindarte, 1990;Trigo and Kaimowitz, 1994; Castro et al., 2005).Finally, a notion emerged in the 1990s that attachesgreater importance to clients such as policymakers, inputproviders, wholesalers, and retailers: It suggests a more politicallyinfluenced organization of research and a searchfor partners to resolve the shortage of financial resources(Trigo and Kaimowitz, 1994; Cetrángolo, 1996; Castro etal., 2005) (Table 2-4).Historically, agricultural research organizations havefound it difficult to determine the focus of research for eachsocioeconomic segment, involving as it does many complexdimensions—political, scientific, technological, environmental,economic, and administrative. To make matters worse,scientific progress has been uneven throughout the region(Castro et al., 2005).While knowledge regarding the demands of medium- andlarge producers is ample, research organizations know littleabout the demands of other segments, such as subsistencefarmers, indigenous communities, and small family farmerslinked to production chains, and do not much value them.2.2.3 Research stylesResearch activities may be geared to different purposes.These purposes are commonly associated with the differenttypes of research: basic, applied, adaptive, and strategic.Studies that assess current research efforts by the publicand private sectors regarding agricultural research of eachtype show that organizations involved in these activitiesare strongly oriented toward applied research, followed byadaptive research. Strategic research is the least importantat present, but will become more important in the future,along with basic research.During the 1950s, the dominant approach was adaptiveresearch, based on the belief among policymakers that sufficienttechnology existed for the modernization of agriculture.This view prompted the establishment of agriculturalextension systems in nearly all Latin American countries(Trigo and Kaimowitz, 1994).The role of the private sector was limited to supplyingseeds and agrochemicals. The food processing industry wasstill in its early stages, strongly dependent on public sectorsupport. Except in the case of a few export products, privateresearch was virtually non-existent. (Malan, 1984; Moura,1990).An analysis of historical trends suggests a gradual declineof applied and adaptive research in the public sectorin favor of increasing efforts in basic and strategic research(Castro et al. 2005).The development of biotechnology has prompted achange of emphasis towards basic research, which is evidentin the growing importance of laboratory work with regardto fieldwork. Greater importance is attached to researchinstitutions involved in basic science. For their part, Trigoand Kaimowitz (1994) note the importance of restrictions in


92 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportBox 2-4. A pro-poor AKST system agenda for LACReducing poverty and its negative impacts has been of secondaryimportance to the AKST System agenda in LAC. The primary goalhas been to boost productivity in order to increase the food supplyand reduce food prices—and to increase the productivity of agricultural,forestry, fishery, and aquaculture export commodities.Agricultural research policies often do not mention povertyrelief among their specific goals. The incentives system for researchersdoes not encourage their interest in this issue (Gunasena2003). A current and growing challenge facing governments,public AKST System organizations and civil society is to define,sponsor, and execute a research agenda to help the poor—withtheir active participation, It would be aimed at developing productsand services accessible to poor populations whose use mayserve to decrease or mitigate the negative effects of poverty.Does AKST have the potential to generate knowledge and innovationsthat will contribute to reduce or mitigate the negativeeffects poverty on nutrition, health, energy use, and the degradationof natural resources? These are factors that influence thedevelopment of human capital, in terms of health, life expectancy,education, empowerment, organization, recreation, development,and well-being.According to Nickel (1989), “Obviously, agricultural researchper se cannot solve all social problems and inequalities.” However,as he suggests, “Research policies and strategies may bedesigned in such a way as to direct the benefits toward relievingpoverty.” It is also possible to “develop technologies that will givea comparative advantage to farmers with limited resources and topoor consumers.”Both Nickel (1989) and Gunasena (2003) agree that a pro-poorresearch agenda should focus on product-systems of interest tothe poor, and on the zones where they are concentrated suchas barren highlands, the semiarid tropics, and marginal lands.Although these areas are extensive, their limited ecophysicalconditions mean that the poor will not benefit unless researchis focused on the natural resources available in the region theyinhabit. Research should be designed to find ways of helping thepoor to emerge from poverty.The technologies most likely to succeed in these marginal areasare those associated with mixed livestock and agroforestryproduction systems, with improvements in deferred grazing,cover crops, etc., which are more in tune with the agroecologicalfarming system (Gunasena 2003).Science and technology policies to support the poor shouldpromote the development of plots or farms in ways that do notrequire them to purchase more external inputs. A challenge facingAKST is to develop technologies that require little capital andlow energy and can be used by small farmers with few resources.(Dialo, 2005; Pretty and Hine 2001).A pro-poor AKST System agenda should aim to optimize integratedpest control and promote strategies to increase the organicmatter content in the soil, improve the efficiency of fertilizersthrough biological nitrogen fixation, or develop technologicalinnovations to conserve genetic resources (FAO 2005).In short, according to Gunasena (2003), “The second greenrevolution—for poor peasant farmers on marginal lands—shouldnot be a copy of the first. It should seek environmental sustainability[and] low-cost inputs and better yields on small plots, andshould reduce risks to a minimum. It should focus less on cropsand more on systems, and on finding ways to diversify productionand use the different resources available.”Biotechnology and the poor. New developments in molecular biologyoffer opportunities for researching and resolving problemsthat affect developing countries, such as the increase in waterscarcity. The development of drought-tolerant and salt-tolerantcrops would be of value, as would genetic improvement to developtolerance or resistance to pests and diseases.However, it is unlikely that biotechnology and nanotechnology’spotential will be used to solve these problems. Substantialinvestments would be required in laboratories, equipment, andhighly specialized human resources, as well as financial resourcesto pay for royalties for access to and use of patented genesand processes. Small farmers with few resources—the potentialusers of such innovations, products, and services—have verylimited purchasing power. Because biotechnology research ismainly concentrated in the private sector, large biotechnologycompanies focus on crops and livestock products that enjoy alarge market. The users of these biotechnology products and innovationsare large-scale producers with significant purchasingpower.Accordingly, basic research aimed at understanding the mechanismsand problems that affect crops grown by small farmers indeveloping countries will not receive financial backing. For thisreason, it is essential that the international community create atrust fund to finance the use of frontier knowledge and advancedmethodologies to address major problems affecting the poor indeveloping countries.Financing a pro-poor agenda will test the solidarity betweenthe public and private sectors, both at the country level and atthe regional level, for instance in Central America and the Caribbean,throughout the entire region, and globally. And the primaryresponsibility for generating public goods (products and services)and making these available falls on governments.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 93Table 2-4. Evolution of the AKST agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last 50 years.AKST Dimension Until the 1980s CurrentlyMain AKST objectivesIssues researchedTechnological toolsused• Increasing production and productivity.• Increasing the food supply.• Production aspects: geneticimprovement, fertilization and soilmanagement, pest and diseasemanagement and control, agriculturalmachinery, animal and plant health.• Animal and plant genetic improvement.• Crop and livestock technologies.• Soil management and conservation.• Water management and conservation.• Increasing production and productivity.• Increasing the food supply.• Ensuring food security. Conserving natural resourcesand providing environmental services.• Alleviating poverty.• Mitigating the impact of climate change and naturaldisasters.• Incorporating local knowledge.• Production aspects: genetic improvement, fertilizationand soil management, waste management, pestand disease management and control, agriculturalmachinery, animal and plant health.• Biotechnology and biosafety.• Postharvest treatment.• Environmental services valuation.• Agro-biodiversity and wildlife biodiversityconservation.• Impact of production on natural resources (water, soil,biodiversity).• Value added to the production chain.• Socioeconomic and anthropological issues.• Environmental-, ecological-, and natural- resourceeconomics issues.• Advanced animal and plant genetic improvement.• Biotechnology and genetic engineering.• Crop and livestock technologies.• Precision farming methods.• Soil management and conservation.• Water management and conservation.• Information and communications technology.• Participatory methods.• Nanotechnology.• Aquaculture.Dimensions assessed • Agronomic. • Agronomic.• Environmental and ecological.• Social.• Anthropological.• Economic (environmental and ecological).• Cultural.• Policy-related.Main focus of AKSTresearchMain AKST customers• Personal consumption and food selfsufficiency.• Agro-exports of commodities and otherproducts.• Conventional producers (in medium- tolarge-scale organizations).• Agro-industries.• Personal consumption and food self-sufficiency.• Agro-exports of commodities and other products(including fruit, garden greens, and handicrafts).• Products with value added.• Non-agricultural products and services.• Biofuels.• Conventional producers.• Agro-industries.• Agro-ecological producers.• Traditional/indigenous producers.• Women farmers.Sectors included • The primary sector. • The primary sector.• The secondary sector and other stages of productiveand service chains.• The non-rural sector.continued


94 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 2-4. continued.AKST Dimension Until the 1980s CurrentlySectors included • The primary sector. • The primary sector.• The secondary sector and other stages of productiveand service chains.• The non-rural sector.Places where AKSTactivities take placeLegal nature of AKSTinstitutionsParticipation of civilsocietyValuation andincorporation of localknowledge in AKST• Experimental stations.• Centralized.• Mainly public, with a high degree ofautonomy.• With little participation from NGOs.• Low.• Low.• Experimental stations.• Demonstration farms.• Producers’ farms and small farms.• Watersheds.• Non-rural milieus.• Decentralized.• Para-statal.• Public corporations run according to private law.• Public research centers.• Greater participation of the private sector inappropriable technologies.• Greater participation of small-scale producer NGOs.• Growing: moderate to high.• Growing.the free flow of information, with a greater exclusion of researchresults from the public domain given their increasedmarket value.The private sector plays an active role in developingbiotechnologies. Its interest grew with the advent of deregulation,economic liberalization, regional economic integrationprocesses, and the growing recognition of intellectualproperty rights related to genetic material and other agriculturalinputs (Piñeiro and Trigo, 1983; Trigo and Kaimowitz,1994). This will have major implications for the regionstemming from the wide dissemination of new biotechnologies,increased use of intellectual protection mechanisms,and support to regional industries, and will affect the interactionsbetween the different public research institutions.With regard to strategic research initiatives, accordingto Trigo and Kaimowitz (1994), efforts that do not haveshort-term commercial application require direct participationby the public sector. At present, according to Castro etal. (2005), strategic research only represents about 10% ofpublic research in the six countries analyzed.2.2.4 Priority research processesCastro et al. (2005) point to the high historical importanceof research on factors that affect production efficiency and,at the same time, the low importance assigned to researchapproaches more focused on scientific topics and socialand environmental aspects. This shows that agricultural researchfinds itself at a crossroads, where the well-troddenpaths towards the search for efficiency in production thathave sustained research in the last fifty years have beenexhausted but new paths are not yet known and researchorganizations do not have sufficient capacity to pursuethem.To identify the technology demands of users and definetheir research priorities accordingly, the national instituteshave taken several steps, among the most outstanding onesdecentralizing and regionalizing their activities. To this end,they have taken advantage of their experimental stationslocated in different areas of each country, which tend tospecialize in specific commodities according to local characteristics.(Piñeiro et al., 2003)It has also been pointed out (Castro et al., 2005) thatthe selection of priority lines of research requires:• A strategic institutional planning mechanism to helpdevelop a prospective approach to long-term needs thatcan provide a framework and nourish discussion by thescientists themselves regarding the relative importanceand likelihood of success of various lines of research;• Institutional mechanisms to facilitate effective linkageswith technology users and ensure that these users canexert the necessary social oversight over decisions regardingpriorities and resource allocation; and• A financial structure to align research initiatives withthe needs that have been identified.However, national AKST system institutes are implementingthese types of mechanisms to varying degrees and at differentpaces (Castro et al., 2005).2.2.5 Monitoring and assessment of institutionalperformance regarding AKSTThe follow-up and assessment of institutional performancehas not been sufficiently attended to by most AKST institutionsin LAC. In general, assessment occurs as an isolatedaction that is seldom used to improve organizational performancedue, among other reasons, to a lack of the in-


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 95formation needed to identify structural, organizational, oradministrative and managerial problems.Efforts to assess the results achieved by S&T institutionsoverall, and not just specific projects, only began inthe 1980s and 1990s, and the issue has still not been addressedwith the dynamism, energy, and depth needed to ensurea better use of resources and improve the planning andgeneral efficiency of these bodies. The complexity and scaleof NARIs has produced vertical organizations with manyhierarchical levels and a bureaucratic management style,because they were established to respond to the problemsof every region in the country, leading to highly complexinstitutions both from the organizational point of view andin terms of the quantity, variety, and heterogeneity of thetopics to be researched. (Piñeiro et al., 2003).Recent literature emphasizes the need for research institutionsto adopt decentralized management styles with ahorizontal organizational structure that promotes discussionand consensus-building among peers. In pursuit of thistype of organizational structure and management style, twocomplementary paths have been followed (Piñeiro et al.,2003). The first has sought to develop a highly decentralizedorganizational structure in which different units enjoya high level of operational autonomy, a model exemplifiedby American universities. The second approach, inspired bythe reforms introduced in Great Britain, Australia and NewZealand, has been to create relatively small bodies withspecific mandates, highly focused on regions, products, orscientific topics.The main challenges facing AKST system institutionsin LAC are to: (1) identify and measure all outputs, emphasizingproductivity in terms of the products and servicesgenerated for clients/users; (2) address crucial managementissues and constraints; (3) create consensus and a sense ofownership; (4) improve internal and external transparency;and (5) strengthen knowledge of the institution’s strengths,weaknesses, and constraints. (Peterson et al., 2003).The region’s AKST institutions can improve their performanceby assessing periodically, and critically, the relevanceand quality of their research through the peer reviewsystem accepted by the international scientific community.It is also useful to review the modern and practical conceptof assessment, which has progressed “from the notion offinding weaknesses and culprits, to an approach where theassessment is at the service of users, with an emphasis onlearning to improve organizational and institutional performance”(McKay and Horton, 2003).2.2.6 Knowledge, science and technology from anagroecological perspectiveStarting in the 1970s, alternative production models havebeen developed with a view to reducing the use of pesticidesin agricultural production. This has led to a variety ofpractices, among them integrated pest management (IPM),integrated crop management (ICP), and agroecological pestmanagement (Burlet and Speedy, 1998).In the early 1980s, an agroecological alternative to thecommercial agricultural system began to develop. This alternativeis based on a systemic approach to managing agriculturalproduction that identifies the ecological, social,economic, cultural, and geopolitical dimensions related tothe management and use of natural resources, revaluing theexchange between local know-how and scientific knowledge(Sevilla and González, 1995; Sevilla and Woodgate, 2002;Bernal, 2006). Other sustainable management approacheshave emerged, such as agroforestry, integrated soil management,and integrated watershed management.The agroecological approach has been adopted byproducers’ organizations, public research institutions, universities,and non-governmental organizations. The mostprominent include the Latin American Consortium for Agroecologyand Development (CLADES), based in Chile, theMasters Program in Ecological Agriculture of the TropicalAgriculture Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)in Costa Rica, and the Masters Program in Agroecology ofthe University of Caldas, Colombia. Leading NGOs in thefield include the Ecological Agriculture Network and theAgroecological Movement of Latin America and the Caribbean(MAELA), an open, pluralistic and diverse movementinvolved in research, development, training and promotionalactivities that brings together over 65 institutions.2.3 Financial Resources and Administration ofthe AKST system2.3.1 Development and impact of investment in AKSTIn Latin America, total investment in agricultural R&Din 2000 came to 2.6 million dollars; of these, 2.5 million(95.2%) were public investments (Pardey and Beintema,2006). Most studies carried out in the region, as in other regions,show extremely high rates of return on investment inagricultural research and development (Alston et al., 2000;Ávila et al., 2002, Días Ávila et al., 2006) (See Table 2-5).Despite this, from the mid-1980s onward, and especiallyduring the nineties, public investment in agriculturalresearch and development declined. As a result of fiscal andpublic debt problems, most countries in the region implementedprofound reforms in their macroeconomic, commercial,sectoral, and overall public investment policies, aimedat limiting state intervention and reducing public spendingand deficits. These policies restricted agricultural credit,making it more expensive, and reduced the budgets allocatedto investment in rural infrastructure and those aimedat agricultural research and extension and other programsand services to support rural development. 18This less favorable context of macroeconomic and sectoralpolicies was reflected in lower growth rates for agriculturalproduction in LAC countries—both in terms ofcultivated area and average productivity—for the period1982-2001, compared with those recorded for the period1962-1981 (Table 2-6). As the authors note, average growthof production for the main agricultural commodities was3.05% annually in the 1960s and 1970s, and fell to 1.98%in the last two decades. But there were significant differencesin the growth patterns of the different subregions. Inthe Andean countries, Central America, and the Caribbean,18These policy changes to support agriculture in LAC also coincidedwith the start of a review of subsidies and food self-sufficiencypolicies in developed countries, especially the CommonAgricultural Policy.


96 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 2-5. Impact assessments of agricultural research in different LAC countries.Authors Countries Products/Levels Rates of Return* (%)Ayer & Schuh (1972) Brazil Cotton 77Fonseca (1976) Brazil Coffee 23-26Moricochi (1980) Brazil Citrus 28-78Ávila (1981) Brazil Irrigated rice 87-119Cruz & Ávila (1983) Brazil Aggregate 20 -38Roessing (1984) Brazil Soy 45-62Monteiro (1985) Brazil Cacao 61-79Barbosa, Cruz & Ávila (1988) Brazil Aggregate 34-41Teixeira et al. (1989) Brazil Aggregate 43Gonçalves, Souza & RezendeBrazil Rice 85-95(1989)Evenson & Ávila (1995) Brazil WheatSoyMaizeRiceOliveira & Santos (1997) Brazil Aggregate 24Almeida, Ávila & Wetzel (2000) Brazil Soy 69Almeida & Yokoyama (2001) Brazil Rice 93-115Barletta (1971) Mexico WheatPotatoMaizeOther crops4058374074-1046926-5954-82Himes (1972) Peru Maize 65Ardila (1973) Colombia Rice 58Montes (1973) Colombia Soy 79Peña (1976) Colombia Potato 68Scobie & Posada (1977) Colombia Rice 87Pazols (1981) Chile Rice 16-94Yrarrazaval R. 91982) Chile WheatMaizeMartinez (1983) Panama Maize 47-325Norton (1987) Peru BeansMaizePotatoRiceWheatMendoza (1987) Ecuador PotatoRiceSoyPalm oilScobie (1988) Honduras Fruits, nutsOther crops21-2836-3414-2410-3122-4817-4418-362844173216-9317-76Cordomi (1989)(**) Argentina Aggregate 41Echeverria (1989) Uruguay Rice 52Evenson & Cruz (1989b)PROCISURSouthern ConeRegionWheatMaizeSoy110191179Ruiz de Londoño (1990) Peru / Colombia Beans 15-29Traxler (1990) Mexico Wheat 22-24


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 97Table 2-5. continuedAuthors Countries Products/Levels Rates of Return* (%)Pino (1991) Ecuador WheatPotatoMaizeBeansPalomino & Echeverria (1991) Ecuador Rice 34Taxler (1992) Mexico Wheat 15-23Cruz & Ávila (1992) Andean Region Aggregate 245Vivas, Zuluaga & Castro (1992) Colombia Sugarcane 13Racines (1992) Ecuador Palm oilSoyPalomino & Norton (1992) Ecuador Flint Maize 54Byerlee (1994) Latin America /CaribbeanMexicoWheatWheatCap (1994) Argentina Beef cattleMilkMaizePotatoWheatOther cropsMacagno (1994) Argentina MaizeWheatOther crops29293532358153745577696754-59473234Pena (1994) Argentina Potato 53-61Romano, Bermeo & TorregrosaColombia Sorghum 70(1994)Byerlee (1995) Latin America Wheat 82Fonseca (1996) Peru Potato 26Ortiz (1996) Peru Potato 30Farfan (1999) Colombia Coffee 21-31Manzano (1999) Ecuador Rice 58Amores (1999) Ecuador Cacao 31*Internal rates of return, except in the cases indicated with (**) which are estimates of the marginal internal rates of return.Source: Adapted from Días Ávila et al., 2006.growth rates declined. By contrast, growth rates increasedin the Southern Cone countries, influenced mainly by increasesin the productivity of the land both for crops andfor livestock.Moreover, the restrictions imposed on public budgetsfor AKST in the last few decades have come precisely at atime when LAC’s producers have faced growing pressureto improve their productivity in order to compete at the internationallevel in the context of free trade policies—thosestemming from unilateral reforms implemented by thecountries of the region, as well as those resulting from multilateraltrade negotiations in GATT and the WTO, thosecorresponding to the different sub-regional integration initiatives(CARICOM, CAN, MERCOSUR, NAFTA), anda growing number of bilateral agreements signed by somecountries, especially Mexico and Chile.It is also important to emphasize that the decline in publicinvestment in the AKST system in LAC has coincidedwith new demands, associated with sustainable rural development,that have traditionally been assigned a low priorityin the agendas of the region’s institutions.The most important of these demands are: (1) conservationof natural resources and the environment; (2) conservationand sustainable use of genetic and biodiversity resources;(c) the development of human resources and social capital asstrategic assets for competitiveness and progress; (3) the empowermentof civil society; (4) proper attention to aspectsrelated to gender and ethnicity; (5) the incorporation of newleading-edge technologies that require substantive changesin institutional structure and organization, such as biotechnology,genetic engineering, nanotechnology, telecommunications,and computer science; (6) emerging new topics orissues that may have significant impacts on production andon future food demand, e.g., biofuels; and (7) new demandslinked to such issues as product differentiation and valueadded.


98 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 2-6. Growth Rates of Agricultural Production in Different Regions of LAC during the Period 1962-2001 (annual %).Regions Crops Livestock Average Growth1962/1981 1982/2001 Average 1962/1981 1982/2001 Average 1962/1981 1982/2001 AverageSouthernCone2.79 2.98 2.89 1.74 2.95 2.34 2.27 2.96 2.62Andean 2.43 2.65 2.54 3.95 2.92 3.44 3.19 2.79 2.99CentralAmerica3.60 1.32 2.46 4.35 2.84 3.59 3.97 2.08 3.03Caribbean 1.20 -0.71 0.24 2.78 0.77 1.78 1.99 0.03 1.01Averages 2.55 1.57 2.06 3.56 2.38 2.97 3.05 1.98 2.51Source: Días Ávila et al., 2006.In short, the political, fiscal and institutional crisis of theState in most LAC countries over the last two decades andthe resultant reforms in macroeconomic, trade, and sectoralpolicies—including cuts in public investment in researchand development—have created a less favorable context forpromoting sustained growth in the value of agrifood productionand a decline in the system’s capacity to addresstraditional demands. And this comes at a time when thenew context calls for a change in Latin America and the Caribbean’sNARIs, in their institutional strategies, structure,and management models, so that they can fit into the globalAKST system (Machado, 2004; Martínez, 2006).2.3.2 AKST funding amounts, trends andconsequencesArdila (2006) underscores that public investment in agriculturalresearch and development in most LAC countries wasalways low compared to international standards. It is a situationthat has worsened in recent decades. Thus, while theratio of research spending to GDP for the period 1970-75in industrialized countries was around 2.5%, the average inLAC was 0.65%; and that ratio fell to 0.5% in 1975-85 andto a range of between 0.1 and 0.4% in 1985-95.According to Hertford et al., (2005), in the mid 1990s—the last date for which global figures can be compared internationally—atotal of US$21.7 billion were spent worldwideon agricultural R&D. LAC countries spent US$1.95 billion(at 1993 international prices) or close to 8.8% of the worldtotal. This was nearly double what those countries spentin 1976. However, there were great disparities. More thanhalf the investment in agricultural research correspondedto Brazil. If Mexico is added, both countries accounted fornearly two-thirds of the region’s total. Other three countriesspent over US$100 million annually. However, a significantnumber of countries spent US$16 million or less, resulting ina serious erosion and decline in the installed capacity of specializedinstitutions. Moreover, these have not been replacedby equivalent investments in the private sector.When one measures overall expenditure in agriculturalresearch as a proportion of the share of GNP that correspondsto agriculture, in the mid 1990s in LAC the averagewas 1.12%, almost twice as much as was spent in 1976 (Table2-6). However, great disparities persisted, from barely0.13 in Guatemala to more than 1.7 in Brazil and Uruguay.These coefficients of agricultural research intensity in Braziland Uruguay are far superior to those of most countriesin the region, albeit far inferior to those recorded in industrializedcountries, which on average spent 2.62% onsuch activities. Although funding from non-governmentalorganizations (mainly commodity producer organizations)doubled from 1976 to 1996, this increase started out from avery small base and undoubtedly continues to be insufficientto increase the poor intensity coefficients in the region.Other private research has not been able to reduce thegap. While in rich countries approximately half of all agriculturalresearch is carried out by private firms, by the late1990s, in LAC, total expenditures by the private sector inagricultural R&D amounted to no more that 4.4% of totalexpenditures, 19 and with extreme asymmetries, since most ofthe private investment was carried out in Brazil. In Honduras,private research accounted for 7% of total agriculturalR&D. In Panama, the figure reached 46%. Regardless, mostprivate technologies used in the region are based on researchcarried out in industrialized nations.Even in those countries where public investment in agriculturalR&D increased in the first half of the 1990s, recoverywas fragile. Investment was greatest in Brazil andColombia, but suffered cutbacks in the second half of thedecade. In the region’s smallest countries, research activityhas experienced no growth whatsoever, revealing an asymmetrybetween richer and smaller countries that left the latterlagging behind.At present, only a handful of countries—Brazil, Mexico,Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela—can boast of importantorganizations that have kept up significant levels ofinvestment.2.3.3 Consequences of reduced financingIn LAC, when analyzing the 1981-2002 period (Figure 2-2and Table 2-7), a negative evolution in public research canbe detected vis-à-vis industrialized nations. In the least devel-19R&D investments are measured on the basis of where theyare carried out, regardless of where the company’s headquartersmay be located.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 99Figure 2-2. Evolution of the intensity of public agricultural research in Latin America andthe Caribbean compared to developed countries. Source: Ardila, 2006.oped countries, the lack of public investment in agriculturalresearch is a significant threat if one considers the growingdemand for knowledge to ensure the sustained growth offood production—something that can only be secured byinnovation and increases in soil and water productivity. Itshould be noted that in many of these countries the availabilityof agricultural land per capita will tend to fall overthe coming decades, making it likely that food productionwill not meet local demand. Not only will the balance oftrade be affected; the population with the lowest incomelevels will have to pay more for food. Recent increases in internationalmaize prices are indicative of this phenomenon.Even in the five countries in the region that can boastof relatively strong public research institutions, the decreasein government funding has significantly affected their productivity.By degrading the ratio between operational andpersonnel costs, they have reduced their efficiency and thepossibilities of carrying out the institutional transformationthat contextual changes in recent decades call for.Among other effects, this situation has led to the implementationof a variety of agreements between public institutionsand the private sector for the development of certaintechnologies appropriable by private firms. The lack of governmentfunding has altered the focus of NARI research.It is currently guided by the contributions and demandsof companies, particularly those that specialize in providingagricultural inputs, although it also extends to groupsof producers, agroindustries, and other components ofsociety.This entails a reconceptualization of NARIs to incorporatenew management schemes that contemplate strategicplanning aimed at forging alliances and cooperationTable 2.7 World and LAC: Indicators of public and private R&D activities around 1995.(a) Expenditure in agricultural research and development (millions of dollars at 1993 rates)Developing World Developed World World TotalLACTOTALPublic 1,947 11,469 10,215 21,684Private 91 672 10,829 11,511Total 2,038 12,141 21,044 33,194(b) Intensity ratio of agricultural research (percentage)Developing WorldDeveloped WorldWorld TotalLACTOTALPublic 0.98 0.62 2.64 1.04Private 0.01 0.04 2.80 0.61Total 0.99 0.66 5.43 1.65Source: Pardey and Beintema, 2001.


100 | Latin America and the Caribbean Reportmechanisms at the national and international level with thevarious public and private AKST players—that is, the buildingof research networks (Lindarte, 1997; Salles-Filho etal., 1997) without ignoring the demands of the sector as awhole, which in most countries features small producers.2.3.4 Changes in approaches to mobilizing resourcesIn the early stages, public funding for NARIs normally camefrom the national government budget. The main exceptionto this rule was Argentina’s National Agricultural TechnologyInstitute (INTA), whose charter allowed it to receivea direct percentage of revenues from leading agriculturalexports. More recently, Uruguay’s INIA began to receive apercentage of revenues from agricultural exports, complementedwith an equal sum from the national budget. Sincethe end of 2002, Argentina’s INTA has received a percentageof the earnings from imports coming from outside theMERCOSUR trade alliance (Piñeiro et al., 2003).The limited experience of these funding arrangementssuggests that it is advantageous for NARIs to have an independentfinancing system in which funds are assigned forspecific purposes. This provides security regarding the sumsthat can be spent and their availability in the course of thefiscal year. Both elements are essential to proper planning.They also encourage a careful use of available resources since,if unused, they remain at the disposal of the institution.Governments have tended to assign AKST funds as partof their overall budgets. A total annual amount has beengenerally allocated, divided into partial, normally monthly,payments. However, this periodicity has often not been observed,especially when it comes to operating costs, whichare sometimes disbursed in random fashion. This allocationis supposed to cover: salaries, operating expenses, maintenanceof infrastructure and equipment, and investment.The aforementioned trend of declining governmentalsupport for AKST institutions confronts them with shrinkingand untimely budgets that reduce their effectiveness andefficiency. They are forced to cover, first of all, their payroll,for which they must use part of the resources earmarkedfor operations, maintenance, and investment. It is commonto find ratios of 90:10:0 regarding salaries, operations andmaintenance, and investment. Experts consider that this ratioshould be 50:35:15.Consequently, AKST system institutions have beenforced to seek external resources to reduce their budgetdeficits. This has led them to diversify their funding sourcesthrough a variety of projects. It has also led them to identifyand approach other financial agents they may turn to(multilateral banks, regional research funds, internationalcooperation), which are not necessarily a solution for AKSTinstitutions confronting a budget deficit and a reducedcapacity to cover their essential payroll, operational, andmaintenance expenses.Recently, national AKST system institutes have mademajor efforts to adapt to the new conditions. In general,they have solved their budgetary problems. In some cases,they have even managed to improve their finances significantly.As a result, changes are evident in their financialstructure and composition, and many now generate theirown resources through the sale of non-essential assets andtechnological services and solutions.Similarly, these organizations are taking their first stepsto harness the benefits derived from the intellectual propertyof some of their own technology packages. This has implieddeveloping new regulatory frameworks on issues such asintellectual property legislation for seeds, genes, and otherappropriable innovations that encourage private investmentin agricultural R&D, as well as laws to properly regulatethe appropriation of benefits in the case of joint initiativesbetween public institutions and private firms (based on thenotion of public goods and private goods).Finally, it is important to note that the debt crisis of the1980s and the effects of globalization have forced governmentsto rethink the administration of science and technology.In developed nations, direct government contributionshave been reduced and new mechanisms have been introducedto finance innovation activities, such as competitivefunds for research, contracts for the development of specificproducts, the purchase of new products by the public sector,subsidies for innovation activities in companies, and the formationof public-private consortia (Branscomb et al., 1999;Huffman and Just, 1999; Echeverría and Alvaro, 2000).These new mechanisms have not replaced the traditionalfinancing mechanisms, but instead have complementedthem. Although experts agree that funding for public researchinstitutions should combine fixed budget allocationswith variable appropriations (Huffman and Just, 1999; Echeverríaand Alvaro, 2000; Huffman and Evenson, 2003),developing countries have given almost exclusive priority tothe use of competitive funds.Gil and Carney (1999) mention that competitive fundscan be an efficient mechanism if there is sufficient researchcapacity in the country. However, the experience of some ofthe larger research systems of developing countries (includingBrazil and India) shows that these conditions are notalways met.Competitive funds have been used in LAC by the WorldBank and the Inter-American Development Bank as part ofloans to support AKST. In Mexico, competitive funds arethe preferred mechanism for allocating public resources forresearch and innovation. The Produce Foundations usedthese funds from the outset, though their implementationgradually evolved as they gained more experience. However,efforts to identify more effective mechanisms have beenslow, in the absence of studies to assess these experiences.Given the limited AKST institutional capacity in someLAC subregions, it is essential to promote inter-institutionalprojects to complement and utilize the comparative advantagesof each institution. A financing mechanism using competitivefunds shared by two or more institutions engaged incooperative projects is a more effective and efficient strategy.In Mexico, the Produce Foundations have used the mechanismof competitive funds through public bids but give preferenceto inter-institutional projects.The financing system using shared funds has proven tobe a powerful instrument for: (1) guiding research basedon pre-established priorities, so that it is possible to linkthe demands or needs of users with research activities; (2)enhancing the definition of project objectives and methodology,thereby helping to achieve the expected results; and (3)facilitating the development of monitoring and evaluationmechanisms for research activities.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 101Experience suggests that financing research throughcompetitive funds is extremely useful (Bisang, 2003; Piñeiroet al., 2003). However, this form of financing should becomplementary to institutional financing, given that eachfund sets its own priorities and has its own mechanisms forresource allocation, follow-up, and monitoring. For institutionsthat finance part of their research projects throughcompetitive funds, this entails increased administrativecosts, since several control and monitoring systems must beapplied, each following the rules of the specific fund. Similarly,the fact that special resources granted for research aresubject to different criteria from those of the institution thatreceives them tends to alter previously established researchpriorities and creates asymmetries in the flow of informationbetween researchers and those who are cognizant of theavailable resources.One complementary financing mechanism, independentfrom national budget allocations, is to levy rates or chargeson the first-time sale of specific products. This method isused extensively in Australia, and also in Colombia throughthe so-called Parafiscal Funds, but it is not common in LAC.In both cases, the funds received are channeled to privatecorporations administered by governing councils made upof representatives of the public sector and producers’ associationslinked to the specific product, and the resourcescan only be used to support research and the promotion ofexports.Some AKST system institutions have succeeded in generatingincome through the sale of technological services notdirectly linked to their research activities, such as soil analysis,agrochemical tests, and other types of studies (www.inifap.gob.mx). However, these cases are only justified tothe extent that there is surplus capacity and the income canhelp finance research activities; aside from exceptional situations,it would be advisable to use that surplus capacityfor research, to avoid sidetracking institutions from theirspecific goals.2.3.5 Support institutionsIt is important to mention the foundations that have emergedas an initiative of NARIs themselves, created to raise fundsto sponsor research and technology-transfer projects. Someof these foundations even execute their own projects, or doso through NARIs and universities.In Argentina, for example, INTA participated in the creationof a foundation called ArgenInta and set up a technologicalliaison unit for this purpose. It has also established acompany to strengthen links with the private sector.In Mexico, in order to support specific research projectsrelated to agrifood or agroindustrial chains, INIFAPpromoted the establishment of the Mexican Foundation forAgricultural and Forestry Research (FUMIAF A.C.), comprisingthe leading agribusiness and agroindustrial entrepreneurs.At the regional level, countries are being encouraged tocooperate on AKST system projects of mutual interest. Tosupport this strategy, FONTAGRO was created as a consortiumto promote strategic agricultural research of regionalinterest with the direct participation of Latin American andCaribbean countries in setting priorities and financing researchprojects.2.4 Responses of the AKST systems toChanges in the Most Influential ContextualVariables2.4.1 WaterSince the 1950s, knowledge, science and technology effortsrelated to water in LAC have focused on finding ways topromote its rational and sustainable management, particularlyin areas of water scarcity, as well as carrying out inventories,systematizing hydrological and hydro-biologicalresources, and trying to reverse unsustainable processes likethe pollution caused by domestic waste water (IDEAM,2002). However, it is essential to consolidate a science andtechnology system that addresses the demands of the 21 stcentury (UNESCO, 2006).Historically, research on water has focused on such issuesas its role as a factor in agricultural production andon irrigation systems, the introduction of drought-tolerantmaterials, and the adaptation of species to saline and sodicsoils.In the case of smallholders and indigenous and Afro-American farmers, some AKST strategies have managed toachieve a positive impact in situations of limited—or in extremecases, no—water availability (through drip irrigation,microaspersion, or gravity irrigation systems), aspects thatwere emphasized in integrated rural development programsuntil the end of the 1980s.In the 1990s, field capacity irrigation through remotesensing began to be implemented, making advances possiblein the knowledge of water resources regarding suchissues as consumptive use, soil field capacity, water sources,wetlands, and pest and disease control (Vörösmarty et al.,2005, cited in UNESCO, 2006).Another AKST advance for areas with permanent orseasonal water limitation is the production of biologicalinputs (biofertilizers, mycorrhizae) that potentiate and capitalizeon soil dynamics, expanding the horizons of knowledgeregarding soil biology.The current agenda is revaluing the small irrigation systemsused in extensive areas around the world, and especiallyin LAC (Palerm and Martinez, 1997). This reversesthe historical tendency to ignore the role played by localcommunities in territorial water management, leading toa central strategy to regulate consumption and promote arational use of the resource that is essential for its sustainability(Aguilera, 2002).In urban and semi-urban contexts, most of the researchfocuses on aspects related to the efficient management ofwater resources and the decontamination of water sources.Semi-dry rivers, exhausted or salinized aquifers, sedimentedlakes, high levels of organic material, the presence of heavymetals, and the disappearance of wetlands are only part ofthe current panorama (Fundación Ecología and Desarrollo,2006).An important area of AKST research is the contaminationof water with heavy metals produced by activities likecrop-spraying to combat illegal crops and the exploitation ofhydrocarbons and minerals such as gold, which creates ecologicalimbalances and has adverse effects on human health.Another adverse factor that threatens water resources is oilspills (Aragón, 2002).


102 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportClimate change has also forced a shift in the directionof research, partly in response to the El Niño phenomenonand its effects on the spatial and temporal distribution ofwater. This has affected weather patterns, with increasinglyfrequent reports of extreme events related to maximum andminimum water flows and changes in ocean currents (Obasi,2000; IDEAM et al., 2001; MMA and IDEAM, 2002). Networkinghas been an important factor in mitigating the impactand designing policies at the regional and global levelthrough bilateral and multilateral cooperation.One of the most recent trends in water use planning centersaround advanced research centers and water treatmentlaboratories. Outstanding examples include the Network forWater Management in Agriculture, Irrigation and Ferti-irrigation(Red para la Gestión del Agua en Agricultura, Riegoand Fertirriego); the Ibero-American Water Quality LaboratoriesNetwork (Red Iberoamericana de Laboratorios deCalidad de Agua); and the project known as “Indicators andAppropriate Technologies for the Sustainable Use of Waterin Ibero-America’s Drylands” (Indicadores and TecnologíasApropiadas de uso sostenible del agua en las tierras secas deIberoamérica) (Fernández, n.d.).Activities include the desalinization of seawater to extractpotable water, the use of water as a source of energy(either from hydrogen or kinetic energy from water andtides), the study of ground waters and their decontamination,geothermy, and research on the estuaries of large LatinAmerican rivers like the Amazon, the Río de la Plata, andthe Orinoco. Major efforts and progress have also beenmade in the field of limnology. These new strategies increaseour knowledge base and—with the help of case studies,best practices, partnerships between organizations, andthe exchange of experiences—constitute essential actions toenhance the capabilities of national statistics institutes andtheir management of water resources (UNESCO, 2006).2.4.2 BiodiversityLAC is an exceptionally rich territory in terms of agrobiodiversitybecause it spans important cultural centers fordomestication and agriculture: Meso-America, Amazonia,and the Andean region. Approximately 10,000 years ago,the original settlers domesticated scores of native species,originating agriculture in the New World and leading to therise of highly developed pre-Hispanic civilizations involvingextensive empires based on the success of autochthonousagriculture, its genetic and agronomic diversification, andits broad geographical diffusion.The inter- and infra-specific diversity of these nativecrops constitutes a rich heritage of genetic resources and anenormous comparative advantage, since this agrobiodiversitycontains the elements (unique genes) that are essentialfor plant genetic improvement and the long-term sustainabilityof agriculture.However, in spite of the enormous value of genetic resourcesin the region, the institutional and political capabilityof most countries is too weak to conserve such assetsproperly and use them rationally.The conservation of genetic resources is achievedthrough two different but complementary strategies: ex situ(in germplasm banks) and in situ. In LAC, germplasm banksare typically associated with public agricultural research institutionsand agronomic improvement programs. Germplasmcollections conserved ex situ at these banks are welldocumented and catalogued, with information regardingtheir place of origin, agronomic characteristics, and otherinformation that can facilitate their direct use by farmers, inimprovement programs as a source for desirable characteristics,or for their eventual repatriation to the communitiesof origin should they have been lost for any reason and thereis a desire to bring them back.Advantages of ex situ conservation include the assuranceprovided by banks that the materials will survive, theiravailability for research and improvement, and comparativestudies of different strains to test, for instance, for resistanceto a given pest or disease. Disadvantages of this strategyinclude the cost of the facilities and technical staff needed toregenerate, characterize, and document the conserved materials,and the fact that samples are relatively small withregard to the genetic diversity found in wild populations. Inaddition, the process of evolution—of natural selection—pretty much stops while the materials are stored in the bank,where they are regenerated no more frequently than 5, 20,or more years in between.In situ conservation refers to preserving various speciesor varieties in their natural field conditions in the placeswhere they developed their particular characteristics. Inthe case of domesticated plants, in situ conservation is carriedout “on-farm”, in the fields of the farmers who havetraditionally grown these crops or varieties. For the in situconservation of wild plants (such as the wild relatives ofcommon crops), efforts are made to preserve the ecosystemswhere the natural populations of such species are to befound, whether in national parks, protected areas, or otherecosystems that have not been intervened. The advantage ofin situ conservation is that evolutionary processes continue,thanks to large populations of individuals with wide geneticvariability. The disadvantages of this strategy include thedifficulties of monitoring and protecting wild or cultivatedpopulations in remote areas, the relative lack of documentationand characterization of the genetic materials, and thelogistical difficulties of accessing those materials easily toapply them to research or genetic improvement.Neither in situ nor ex situ conservation by themself areenough to safeguard the survival and integrity of geneticresources in the long terms. Each strategy has its strengthsand weaknesses, which makes it necessary to rely on bothmechanisms (in situ and ex situ) so that they can functiontogether in an integral strategy known as “complementaryconservation”. Thus, if for some reason farmers lose theirseed in the field they may reclaim it from the bank, whileif due to some accident a bank loses some of its materialsit will know where to go to once again collect them in thefield and restore them to their germplasm collection. It mayalso make sense to encourage the exchange of seeds amongfarmers in the same region, or even different regions andcountries. An AKST challenge would be to improve nationalinstitutional and technical infrastructure for safeguardingand making good use of the agrobiodiversity (genetic resources)that make up the heritage of each country.The Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) acknowledgedthe sovereignty of each country over the geneticresources to be found within its borders. But with sover-


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 103eignty comes the responsibility of conserving those uniqueand irreplaceable natural resources, not only for the welfareand agricultural development of the country but also forhumanity as a whole, which must rely on them to feed futuregenerations.At the national level, this responsibility implies everygovernment’s duty to invest in its national agricultural researchinstitutions so they have the basic resources needed tocompile, maintain, characterize, and utilize their genetic resources,both native and imported, to meet the needs of theirpeople and confront the problems of national, regional, andglobal agriculture. At the regional and international level,it would be advisable for all countries to become affiliatedwith the multilateral system for accessing and sharing thebenefits associated with vegetable resources through FAO’s2004 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources forFood and Agriculture.2.4.3 SoilsAKST system advances regarding soils have gone throughseveral historical and mutually interrelated stages in LACthat have made it possible to advance and systematizeknowledge about edapho-biodiversity. Before the 1960s,regional research focused on aspects of taxonomy, fertility,and valuation for cadastral purposes. Then there was aturn toward fertility, management, and conservation studies.During the 1980s, experts introduced research at thewatershed level for land use management purposes, withthe subsequent development of Landscape Ecology Theory(LET), leading to ecological-economic zoning. In the 1990s,research regarding plant nutrition moved toward the impactof applying fertilizers and pesticides to the soil, theireffects on microbial biomass, and their dynamics. At presenta great deal of work is being carried out in soil biologybased on molecular techniques and working with DNA andRNA to inventory mezzo-organisms and microorganisms.Another field of activity relates to ethnotaxonomies andtraditional soil-management techniques, an outstanding examplebeing the case of the Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth,ritual in the Andes.2.4.4 The social variableFrom the 1950s until the end of the 1970s, AKST systemsdirected their efforts at boosting agricultural productivity inresponse to the need to produce more food at a lower cost.This was accomplished through the development of technologypackages that, due to their characteristics, achievedtheir best results in large landholdings but provided fewbenefits to poor farmers with lower levels of organization,or to Afro-American and indigenous communities (Piñeiroand Trigo, 1983).The need to respond effectively to local demands, mainlyfrom farmers who benefited the least from the technologytransfer models that characterized the agricultural modernizationphase described in the previous section, led to thefirst attempts to regionalize AKST (Piñeiro and Florentino,1977; Trigo et al., 1982). This reflects a changing perceptionof the role and effects of technology on the economic organizationof society (Valdés et al., 1979; Gilbert et al., 1980;Norman, 1980; Trigo et al., 1981).Later, in the 1980s and especially from the ninetiesonward, the social changes that occurred as a result of urbangrowth required the agricultural sector to develop newtechnologies associated with more advanced linkages ofthe production chain such as postharvest handling andstorage, improving the quality of the final product andthe strengthening the industrialization of agricultural producers.To respond to these new demands, AKST systeminstitutes began to rethink their objectives. However, accordingto Lindarte (1997), NARIs and extension serviceshave not achieved significant results in this respect, possiblydue to constraints in the development model, the intereststhat govern institutional structures, or a lack of conceptualclarity regarding the direction and implementation of thenecessary changes.Lindarte (1997) also emphasizes the importance of incorporatingdifferent stakeholders involved in the processof technology generation. This is evident in the growing involvementof private sector representatives and those fromproducers’ organizations, foundations, and NGOs in nationalresearch institutes, and also in the development oftechnology transfer programs such as Cambio Rural, implementedby INTA in Argentina, and other experiences carriedout by EMBRAPA in Brazil and INIA in Chile (Cetrángolo,1992). The limitations of this new approach are mostly dueto the lack of new and appropriate forms of social and culturalintegration (Lindarte, 1997).2.4.5 PoliciesThe performance of AKST systems, the focus of researchand, in particular, the incorporation of innovations, areconditioned by the general public policy context, and arenot only limited to specific aspects of AKST. In most LACcountries, the relatively high contribution of agriculture toGNP and employment generation in the second half of the20 th century pushed production, rural development, andfood self-sufficiency policies toward the top of the agendasof governments, cooperation programs and internationaldevelopment agencies. From the 1950s to the 1980s, theseagendas contemplated a broad range of rural developmentpolicies and programs with active participation by governmentsin financing production and the physical infrastructureneeded to support both production and marketing.Governments also implemented policies on land-use andirrigation, intervened in commodity and input markets, introducedmeasures to protect agricultural trade (throughthe application of tariffs and other quantitative limits onimports), and implemented initiatives to support researchand development.During that period, public policies emphasized the generationand transfer of technology, strengthening the humanand financial resources of specialized public institutions andpaving the way for the creation of NARIs. In some countries,particularly the larger ones, the activities undertakenby these institutions and the favorable policy context playeda significant role in boosting productivity and agriculturalproduction in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. However, theydid not have a similar affect on reducing rural poverty, nordid they pay much attention to the conservation of naturalresources and the environment.Ample evidence suggests that the sustained and sustainablegrowth of agricultural production and, in consequence,


104 | Latin America and the Caribbean Reportits positive impacts on the development of rural communitiesand on the economy as a whole, depends in great measureon the systematic incorporation of innovations, sincethe current possibilities of increasing the cultivated area arefairly limited. Although there are still opportunities to expandthe agricultural frontier in some LAC countries, themain way to increase the growth of the food supply andfarmer income is by increasing the productivity of the land.Similarly, most of the studies carried out in LAC, and inother regions, show that the rates of return on investmentin agricultural research and development are extremely high(Alston et al., 2000; Ávila et al., 2002) (Table 2-8).Despite the points mentioned above, starting in the mid-1980s and especially during the 1990s public investment inagricultural research and development declined in LAC. Asa result of their fiscal and public debt problems, most countriesin the region implemented profound reforms in theirmacroeconomic, trade, sectoral and public investment policieswith the aim of limiting state intervention and reducingpublic spending. These policies also restricted agriculturalcredit, making it more expensive, and reduced the budgetsallocated to investments in rural infrastructure, and thosecorresponding to agricultural research and extension andother programs and services to support rural development.This less favorable context of macroeconomic and sectoralpolicies was reflected in lower growth rates of agriculturalproduction in LAC countries—both in terms of thecultivated area and average productivity—for the period1982-2001, compared with those recorded for the period1962-1981. The average growth of production for the mainagricultural commodities was 3.05% annually in the 1960sand 1970s, and fell to 1.98% in the last two decades. Butthere are significant differences in the growth patterns of thedifferent LAC subregions. In the Andean countries, CentralAmerica and the Caribbean, growth rates declined. By contrast,growth rates increased in the Southern Cone countries,influenced mainly by increases in the productivity ofthe land both for crops and livestock.When analyzing public investment in agricultural researchand development in most LAC countries, it can beseen that it was always low compared with internationalstandards, but the situation has worsened in recent decades.Thus, while research spending for the period 1970-75 inindustrialized countries amounted to 2.5% of GDP, the averagefor LAC was 0.65%; and it fell to 0.5% during theperiod 1975-85, and to a range of 0.10 to 0.40% during theperiod 1985-95 (Ardila, 1997).The aforementioned reductions in public investment inagricultural research have not been homogeneous throughoutthe region. At present only a few countries (Brazil,Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela) can boast oflarge organizations that have maintained significant levelsof investment. Hertford (2004) underscores that in the mid1990s more than half the investment in agricultural researchcorresponded to Brazil. If Mexico is added, both countriesaccounted for nearly two-thirds of the region’s total. Onlythe other three countries mentioned spent over US$100 millionannually each. In most countries, instead, public investmentwas very low, and in recent years fell to such extremesthat it has given rise to a serious erosion and decline in theinstalled capacity of official specialized institutions. Moreover,these have not been replaced by equivalent investmentsin the private sector. 20In the least developed countries, the lack of public investmentin agricultural research constitutes a major threat,in terms of responding to a growing demand for knowledgeto ensure the sustained growth of food production, whichshould essentially be based on innovation and on increasedproductivity of the land. In many of these countries, theavailability of farmland per capita will tend to fall in thecoming decades, leading to a high probability that they willbe unable to produce enough food to be self-sufficient. Thiswill not only have negative repercussions on their balanceof trade, but will also result in higher food prices for thepoorest segments of the population, who depend to a largeextent on personal consumption.Even in the five LAC countries that have relativelystrong public research institutions, the decline in publicfunding has had a significant effect on their productivity. Inmost of these institutions the ratio between operating costsand personnel costs has deteriorated, thereby reducing theirefficiency and the possibilities of implementing the necessaryinstitutional changes required by the broader contextualtransformations that have occurred in last two decades.This has implied, among other things, implementing differenttypes of agreements between public institutions and theprivate sector to develop technologies that can be appropriatedby companies. The lack of public resources has shiftedthe focus of research in NARIs, which is now conditionedby the contributions and demands of companies, mainlysuppliers of agricultural inputs. But it also affects producers,agroindustries and other social organizations.These changes in the public policy context call for theestablishment of a new institutional framework that goesbeyond that of the traditional public AKST system institutions.In other words, it is necessary to redefine the rolesand scope of the public and private spheres, with regulatoryframeworks that allow for effective links between bothsectors. Among other aspects, this implies rethinking theNARIs, with the aim of incorporating new managementsystems that contemplate strategic planning for the implementationof partnerships and cooperation mechanisms atthe national and international level with different public andprivate stakeholders of the AKST system. In other words, ahigh priority should be given to the formation of researchnetworks (Lindarte, 1997; Salles-Filho et al., 1997).The restrictions imposed on public budgets for AKSTin recent decades have come precisely at a time when LAC’sproducers have faced growing pressure to improve their productivityin order to compete at the international level—allthis in the context of free trade policies stemming from thereforms implemented by the countries of the region, as wellas those resulting from the multilateral trade negotiationsin GATT and the WTO, those corresponding to the differentsub-regional integration initiatives (CARICOM, CAN,MERCOSUR, NAFTA) and a growing number of bilateralagreements signed by some of the countries, especially Mexicoand Chile. The agenda of future or imminent multilateral20It should be noted that in LAC private investment in AKSTis even less significant than that of the public sector.


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 105Table 2-8. Global investment in research & development in selected countries (in billions of international2000 dollars and in percentage).*Selected countries/regionsAmount1995Total2000Participation1995Total (%)2000Developed Countries (23) 461.4 574.0 82.1 78.5USA 196.4 263.0 35.0 36.0Japan 90.0 99.5 16.0 13.6Developing countries (141) 100.3 157.0 17.9 21.5Asia Pacific (26)China 19.5 48.2 3.5 6.6India 11.7 20.7 2.1 2.8LAC (32) 17.2 21.2 3.1 2.9Brazil 9.8 12.4 1.7 1.7World Total 561.6 730.9 100 100*Local currency converted to international dollars using the Purchasing Power Parity index (PPP).Source: Pardey and Beintema, 2006.and regional trade negotiations, including those that CentralAmerica is launching into with Europe and those that beingexplored with Asian countries, is copious and will producenew challenges in terms of improving the competitiveness ofagriculture in the region.2.4.6 MarketsUrbanization and globalization processes in LAC andworldwide, together with increases in per capita income,have had a major impact on creating demand for differenttypes of goods, and also on the characteristics of theproducts and services demanded by consumers. The lastfew decades have brought changes in consumption patternsand new requirements associated with changing consumerpreferences in terms of health, food safety, food quality andcertification, which are being incorporated into nationalregulations and the international agreements that regulateworld food trade.The growing demand for differentiated products, withmore services and value added, plus other characteristicssuch as the environmental and cultural nature of products,identification of origin and processes, and so on, imply modificationsto the traditional demand for innovations from theAKST system. It is not enough to have an approach centeredon the product, the producer, or the use of technologies toincrease productivity and the food supply; every day bringsmore demands, but also new opportunities to build competitivenessthrough value added, based on a proper understandingof demand and the supply of products and servicesthat are aligned with consumer preferences.In this respect, reference should be made of the manyorganizations dedicated to Fair Trade, a movement that beganin the mid 1980s. Its purpose is to treat rural producersof goods and services in poor countries fairly. This entailsoffering fair compensation for these products, to cover productionand labor costs. It also leads to a revaluation of thework carried out by indigenous peoples, Afro-Americans,and other ethnic minorities, and discourages slave labor andchild labor. It makes it possible to secure long-term contractsthat ensure a steady source of income and reduce marketuncertainty. It also encourages the improved managementand conservation of biodiversity and the environment, andprovides support for producers to acquire the knowledgeand skills needed to become better at business and marketing,and even increases their self esteem. Products marketedunder this scheme vary in their characteristics and points oforigin. Countries that stand out include Guatemala, Honduras,Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Panama, Peru,Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica.Until now, most AKST system institutions have not assigneda high priority to these aspects, or to the differentlinks of the agrifood chains. Moreover, they do not have thenecessary technical and human resources. These new challengeswill become more critical in the coming decades. It isclear that, in future, the AKST system will be unable to limitits activities to the traditional supply-side approach to technologicalinnovation. A high priority will have to be givento identifying and responding to demand, and to developingnew ways of organizing the production and marketing ofagrifood products (organizational innovations), so as to effectivelymeet new consumer demands.2.5 Effectiveness and Impact of the AKSTSystem2.5.1 On production systems2.5.1.1 The traditional indigenous and campesino systemsTraditional indigenous and campesino production systemshave historically been considered by the AKST system anobstacle to development. Its social actors have suffered froma low political and organizational profile, and it has beenaddressed in a marginal and reductionist way, ignoring thecomplex dynamics of production in the rural milieu (Armiño,2002; Macías, 2002; Santamaría et al., 2005; Martínezet al., 2006; OAC and IICA, 2006; Raigoza et al., 2006).In the last two decades, the traditional campesino andAfro-American farming systems and the indigenous produc-


106 | Latin America and the Caribbean Reporttion systems in LAC have started moving into alternativetrade spaces, producing organic and ethnic products, freeof transgenic material, with denomination of origin, as wellas raw materials for multinationals, among others. Theysometimes use advanced technology and marketing strategies(online communications, networks of farmers and consumersof ecological products, dietetic products, and naturalpharmaceuticals and cosmetics). Recently, there has alsobeen a move towards the service sector with the adoption ofmulti-activity systems (hiking trails, horse-riding, photography,environmental education, and ecological or alternativetourism (Toledo, 1980; Naredo, 2006) that respond to thenew concerns of international agendas with regard to forests,water, biodiversity, desertification, wetlands, a genderperspective, intellectual property rights, the precautionaryprinciple, cyber-agriculture, fourth generation rights, andthe exchange of know-how, among other issues.2.5.1.2 The agroecological production systemThe Agroecological Production System emerged as an approachat odds with the practices and philosophy of conventionalproduction systems. The AKST system frameworkis increasingly seeking to revalue traditional knowledge orknow-how based on local research and “farmer to farmer”extension, with participatory research mechanisms, in situprotection of agrobiodiversity, and the study of collectiveforms of social action (Sevilla and Woodgate, 2002). Thesechanges in the traditional, indigenous, and agroecologicalproduction systems have provided new ways of generating,adapting, and transferring AKST system services at differentscales and intensities from the spheres of governments, nongovernmentalinstitutions, and cooperation agencies.In efforts related to the study of production systems, geographicinformation system (GIS) platforms have providedAKST systems with important support and are an essentialtool for the identification, delimitation, and management ofterritories (Echeverri and Alvaro, 2000; Ofen, 2006). Thepreparation of biodiversity inventories; the assessment ofpopulation dynamics, efficient water management, and renewableenergy sources (especially biofuels); the monitoringof pests and diseases; the assessment of CO 2sinks; the surveyof aquifers and ground waters; the mapping of currentand potential soil uses; and modeling, are just some of theactivities undertaken within the AKST context in LAC thatinvolve GIS.2.5.1.3 The conventional systemThe AKST system has had a significant impact on the productivityof agricultural units in recent decades. Starting inthe 1980s, one can detect an increase in yields that continuesto this day (Figure 2-3). Most of this growth has been theresult of incorporating new technologies, mostly improvedseeds, crop protection, and fertilizers. The increase in theproduction of certain crops, and the resultant increase inthe food supply, brought with it a decrease in the price ofagricultural products.In spite of this increase in yields, it should be noted thatthey have been lower than those secured in industrializednations. Perhaps this difference has been influenced directlyor indirectly by the agricultural subsidies prevalent there,Figure 2-3. Trends in the median yields of food crops in LAC andthe world, 1961-2004. Source: Ardila, 2006which facilitate a greater adoption of new technology. Butcountries in East and Southeast Asia have also enjoyed afaster rate of growth than in LAC, where the rate of growthhas been diminishing in the last five years.2.5.2 On the advancement of knowledge andinnovation systemsBiotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technologyare fields of scientific knowledge from which innumerablenew technologies are derived. Advances in biologyand information science are considered the most influentialscientific foundations for agricultural research in the lastdecade.Although some authors already note a decline in its rateof progress (Oliver, 2000), information science is indicatedas one of the most influential branches of science in researchorganizations. It is possible that many organizations havenot yet been able to take full advantage of the potential providedby this progress.Nanotechnology is another branch of science that couldhave a major impact on generating other cutting-edge technologiesin coming years. In 2004, it is estimated that worldwideinvestment in this area was in the order of 3.7 billiondollars (Roco, 2004).Various constraints, however, have slowed the pace ofdevelopment in biotechnology and the information sciencesin developing countries, especially limited financial resources,lack of information, inadequate research infrastructure, andlimited access to technology. In addition, there are groupsthat are ideologically opposed to biotechnology and its possibleimpacts on biodiversity and the environment as well asits implications for food security (Castro et al., 2006).Commercial biotechnology in the region has focusedmainly on the transfer of genes to make crops resistant toherbicides and protect them from several types of insects andpathogens that affect commercial commodities, especiallysoy, maize, and potato. A typical example is the case of RRSoy seeds in Argentina which, according to Regúnaga et al.,(2003), is the most dynamic example of large-scale adoptionof technology innovation in world agriculture. The authorsnote that in a period of five years, RR soy accounted for95% of the total soy crops planted in the country; it was


AKST Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Evolution, Effectiveness and Impact | 107adopted by farmers because of the lower complexity of theproduction system and the reduction in prices per unit.Most countries of the region still face an unresolvedconflict between supporters of biotechnology and its products(mainly those associated with public and private agriculturalresearch institutions) and stakeholders linked toNGOs and other social and political movements who opposethe spread of genetically modified organisms. This hascurtailed the use and even the production of biotechnologyinnovations in certain countries.In the aforementioned study by Castro et al., (2005),basic and applied research in nanotechnology was deemedas of the lowest strategic importance; in recent years, theadvances and impacts of these new frontiers of knowledgewere assessed to be of medium to low significance in the region.For biotechnology, the assessment figures were slightlyhigher, but did not exceed the category of medium importance.An interpretation of this result reaffirms the pointmade previously regarding the slow rate of uptake in the useand production of biotechnological innovations in LAC.It should also be noted that innovation not only hadan impact of the productivity of agricultural units but hasalso enabled the development of many inputs and productivemanagement technologies that are environmentallyfriendly, like crop rotation, biological inocula, and naturalfertilizers.With regard to the regulatory bias of science and technology,there are asymmetries between the knowledge ofusers, producers, and generators of innovation. In LAC werepeatedly find that new technologies are beyond the reachof the very populations for whom they were generated, fora variety of reasons. This problem, in turn, is connected toanother issue mentioned in the studies, i.e., the isolation ofthe various innovation systems due to lack of participationand linkages between all the actors involved in the innovationprocess, which generates a regulatory bias (Arocenaand Sutz, 1999).Regarding the notion of an innovation system as a politicalobjective, data gathered through several recent surveyson industrial innovation in different countries indicate thatnational spending on innovation is fairly low. For this reason,private companies carry out internal R&D activities,even though these may be of an informal character (Arocenaand Sutz, 2002).If we analyze the particular case of innovation systemsin MERCOSUR, these respond to the region’s current economicsituation. In this context, it should be emphasizedthat numerous transnational corporations based in MER-COSUR delegate innovation activities to their parent companies.Although we observe a growing trend regardingcooperation for research purposes, the technological dividebetween Latin American countries and industrialized nationsis still very wide. Hence much of the innovative technologyin the region comes from technological advances that arriveto LAC through inputs, mostly seeds and agrochemicals,produced and distributed by multinationals.According to Lundvall (1985), innovation stems froma convergence of technical opportunities and user demand,which suggests the importance of citizens’ participation inresearch processes—an issue that should be considered byAKST system institutions in the design of innovation systems.It is also important to consider the systemic natureof innovation, taking into account all related processes andtheir interdependence.2.5.3 On consumersThere were, as of 2000, approximately 520 million consumersin Latin America and the Caribbean. According to figuresfrom the Department of Economic and Social Affairs ofthe United Nations Secretariat, disseminated in the studiesWorld Population Prospects: The 2002 Revision and WorldUrbanization Prospects: The 2001 Revision (Perez, 2005),this population grew significantly since 1985, by around120 million people (they were 401 million in 1985, 441 millionin 1990, and 481 million in 1995). These consumers,located both in urban and rural areas, represent a plethoraof demands for goods and services.Consumer-oriented processes have traditionally hadlittle influence. However, even in cases where end consumerswere not the main priority of research, they have indirectlybenefited from the other priorities that have been set,that led for example to significant reductions in food prices.Over the period in question, for instance, the populationbenefited from decreases in the prices of basic foods of almost70%. This occurred due to a decrease in productioncosts due to increases in productivity obtained as a result ofagricultural research efforts and innovation processes. Consequently,end consumers benefited even though researchpriorities were more concerned with farm performance andproductivity (Figure 2-4).Consumer segmentation leads to the generation of supply-sideproduction alternatives. Over time, these developinto different knowledge, science and agricultural technologyinitiatives. In the case of the rural sector, this translatesinto, and is materialized in, agricultural innovation andtechnology transfer processes (Jacobs 1991; Funtowicz andRavetz, 2000).At the same time, advances achieved by agricultural scienceand technology have sometimes been questioned, asin the case of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) orpractices that are believed to cause undesirable effects sucha climate change or soil contamination and erosion (Beca,1988; Sartori and Mazzoleni, 2005; Duarte et al., 2006).As part of this analysis, it is important to emphasizethat new spaces for discussion and feedback are emergingbetween the so-called “responsible consumers” sector andproducers, as part of a general policy to ensure compliancewith standards and principles related to intellectual property,certification mechanisms, fair trade strategies, denominationsof origin, and ecolabelling.2.5.4 Social aspectsThe modernization of Latin America’s agricultural sectorsharpened the contradictions between the modern andtraditional sectors. On the one hand, it led to poverty forthe social groups who were displaced towards large urbancenters and border zones or who joined the transborder migratoryflows. At the same time, it produced environmentalimpacts and caused the large-scale destruction of naturalresources and the erosion of traditional knowledge.


108 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportFigure 2-4. Historical trends of average prices of primary commodities (Weightedaverage prices in real dollars). Source: Authors’ elaboration based on World Bank, 2000.With regard to the gender dimension, it is clear that themodernization of the agricultural sector provoked changesin labor relations both for men and women. Rural womenhave a greater presence in the production chains of freshand processed foods and in other agricultural export products.However, their working conditions remain precarious(Farah, 2004) except in the case of exporting firms that havebeen certified internationally.In general terms, public policy in Latin American countrieshas prioritized economic growth as a strategy for overcomingpoverty in all its manifestations. This economicistvision has ignored the complexity of the situation of ruralpopulations, failing to consider that poverty is multidimensionaland cannot be resolved with one-dimensional strategies(Sen, 2000).2.5.5 On the competitiveness of chains andconglomerates, and on territorial developmentThe AKST system has had a significant impact on the competitivenessof production chains over the period analyzed.The region’s growing agricultural output has largely beenthe result of the technological development promoted by theAKST system (Regúnaga et al., 2003). This has occurreddespite the fact that, as previously mentioned, the systemdid not begin to address production chains as a whole untilthe middle of the 20 th century, focusing before that on specificprojects due to the region’s considerable technologicalbackwardness.For several decades, research efforts pursued productivitywithout taking into consideration the social aspects of agiven territory. The populations historically and culturallylinked to these territories were not adequately inserted intothe technological changes underway, often not only for culturalreasons but also for economic and financial ones. Thislack of a holistic vision of the system has produced negativeexternalities such as social exclusion and the degradation ofnatural resources (Molina, 1980; Trucco, 2004).Although agricultural R&D began to be implementedthrough individual projects a few decades ago, it was notuntil the end of the 1990s that strategies were developedto address the requirements of the production chain as awhole. An example is Argentina’s Multi-annual NationalScience and Technology Plan (SECYT, 1997), which usedthe concept of the production chain to design its technologypolicy and worked with this unit of analysis in pursuit of thegreater competitiveness of the whole.In recent years, the development and expansion of theconcept of agribusiness (Davis and Goldberg, 1957) and theimplications of the new institutional economy for the competitivenessof production chains (Zylbersztajn, 2001) haveintroduced an institutional and organizational frameworkthat has improved the productivity and competitiveness ofchains and conglomerates.This new vision of agribusiness is encouraging discussionon ways of ensuring a more harmonious and balanceddevelopment of production chains and their stakeholders.The concept, however, is being incorporated mainly in themore competitive chains, leaving aside the weaker ones orthose whose stakeholders have fewer opportunities to makethem heard.Consequently, this new way of integrating technologicaldevelopment with institutional aspects has limited importancefor the communities linked to a territory, since there isless interest, knowledge, or efforts on the part of the AKSTsystem to improve their conditions of relative development.In this regard, non-governmental organizations committedto social and territorial development, as well as certainspecific institutions, plays an important role in promotingbetter conditions for local populations with respect for theirculture (Feito, 2005).


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3Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin Americaand the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for SustainableDevelopmentCoordinating Lead Authors:Hector D. Ginzo (Argentina), Suzana M. Valle Lima (Brazil)Lead Authors:Salisha Bellamy (Trinidad and Tobago), Antonio Maria Gomes deCastro (Brazil), Falguni Guharay (Nicaragua), Roberto Saldaña (Mexico)Review Editor:Javier Souza Casadinho (Argentina)Key Messages3.1 Objectives of the Chapter 1143.2 Conceptual Framework 1143.3 Methodology 1153.4 Scenarios: AKST and Sustainable Development in LAC inthe Future (2007-2030) 1243.4.1 Global Orchestration 1253.4.1.1 2007-2015 1253.4.1.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1253.4.1.1.2 AKST systems 1313.4.1.1.3 Agricultural production systems 1373.4.1.1.4 Result of interaction between the systems 1373.4.1.2 2016-2030 1383.4.1.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1383.4.1.2.2 AKST Systems 1393.4.1.2.3 Agricultural production systems 1393.4.1.2.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1403.4.2 Order from strength 1403.4.2.1 2007-2015 1403.4.2.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1403.4.2.1.2 AKST systems 1413.4.2.1.3 Agricultural production systems 1413.4.2.1.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1423.4.2.2 2016-2030 1423.4.2.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1423.4.2.2.2 AKST systems 1433.4.2.2.3 Agricultural production systems 1433.4.2.2.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1443.4.3 Life as it is 1443.4.3.1 2007-2015 1443.4.3.1.1 Context of the AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1443.4.3.1.2 AKST systems 1453.4.3.1.3 Agricultural production systems 1463.4.3.1.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1463.4.3.2 2016-2030 1473.4.3.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1473.4.3.2.2 AKST systems 1483.4.3.2.3 Agricultural production systems 1483.4.3.2.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1493.4.4 Adapting Mosaic 1493.4.4.1 2007-2015 1493.4.4.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1493.4.4.1.2 AKST systems 1503.4.4.1.3 Productive agricultural systems 1513.4.4.1.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1513.4.4.2 2016-2030 1513.4.4.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1513.4.4.2.2 AKST systems 1523.4.4.2.3 Agricultural production systems 1533.4.4.2.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1533.4.5 TechnoGarden 1533.4.5.1 2007-2015 1533.4.5.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1533.4.5.1.2 AKST Systems 1553.4.5.1.3 Agricultural production systems 1553.4.5.1.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1563.4.5.2 2016-2030 1563.4.5.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproduction 1563.4.5.2.2 AKST systems 1583.4.5.2.3 Agricultural production systems 1583.4.5.2.4 Results of interaction among the systems 1593.5 Implications of the Scenarios for Innovation andDevelopment Policies 1593.5.1 Global Orchestration 1603.5.1.1 Implications for innovation policies 1603.5.1.2 Implications for sustainable development policies 1603.5.2 Order from strength 1613.5.2.1 Implications for innovation policies 1613.5.2.2 Implications for sustainable development policies 1613.5.3 Life as it is 1613.5.3.1 Implications for innovation policies 1613.5.3.2 Implications for sustainable development policies 1623.5.4 Adapting Mosaic 1623.5.4.1 Implications for innovation policies 1623.5.4.2 Implications for sustainable development policies 1623.5.5 TechnoGarden 1633.5.5.1 Implications for innovation policies 1633.5.5.2 Implications for sustainable development policies 163112


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 113Key Messages1. By building five scenarios—Global Orchestration(GO), Order from Strength (OS), Life as it is, AdaptingMosaic (AM), and TechnoGarden (TG)—future alternativesare provided to answer the question: “How canwe reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods,and facilitate equitable, environmentally, socially,and economically sustainable developmentthrough the generation, access to, and use of agriculturalknowledge, science, and technology?”2. These scenarios present different challenges thatrequire complex adjustments in order to ensure thesuccessful performance of AKST systems and productivesystems. The scenarios show us that in the realworld of Latin America and the Caribbean, it is not feasibleto think in terms of simple technological solutions or globalsolutions to respond to the growing complexity and vulnerabilityof these systems.3. In most of the scenarios, the AKST systems havefavorable social and environmental repercussionsfor society as a whole. Science generates innovation andhelps improve competitiveness and production efficiency,and the quality of the products in terms of safety, diversity,bromatological quality, and nutritional value for all socialgroups (including the most vulnerable ones, depending onthe scenario), and reduces the impact of agricultural activitieson the environment.4. The existence of trade barriers of different typeswould increase the cost of agricultural activity andthreaten the sustainability of small farms, and it wouldcreate specific demand for AKST systems. The scenariosassume different types of barriers, which would expandover time, as a result of difficulties stemming from variousfactors—environmental, economic, and biological—even inthe scenarios depicting a highly integrated and economicallyopen world (GO and TG). These barriers, which could leadto the loss of important markets and a reduced capacity foreconomic insertion on markets suitable for small-scale agriculturalproducers, would be eliminated with good policiesand management capacity. The barriers would in turngenerate demand for AKST systems to create mechanismsand protocols that would allow for adequate compliancewith international laws and rules pertaining primarily to themost vulnerable productive systems.5. The scenarios assume institutional changes of varyingintensity in the region. In some scenarios, the changeswould accompany the current development model, whichshows trends towards greater stability and consistencyamong social development, environmental, food, innovation,and biosafety policies, and greater capacity to managethese policies (except for Order from Strength). But deepseatedinstitutional changes—such as changes in the paradigmsof agriculture itself, and consequently in the AKSTsystem and in the expansion of power of various interestgroups—would be required to introduce and implementsuccessfully the Adapting Mosaic.6. Losses in productivity of productive systems in responseto variations in the contextual factors vary inthe different scenarios. Rising temperatures, the manifestationof extreme weather events, and an increase in diseases,pests, and contamination of foods are contextual factorsthat have a differential impact on production systems inthe different scenarios. More specifically, the greatest losseswould occur in scenarios that emphasize trade or the onesthat predict a limited capacity to prevent and eliminate orreduce epidemics (the case of Order from Strength).7. Agribusiness in LAC would diversify and expanddifferentially, and small-scale producers would facechallenges. In some scenarios, new uses would be addedfor existing or new commodities. In various scenarios, theparticipation of a limited group of countries in marketsof differentiated products would develop. These marketswould require substantial inputs of knowledge and technology(in the case of differentiated products) or productionon a large-scale (in the case of commodities). Small-scaleproducers in Latin America and the Caribbean would bechallenged to meet these requirements.8. In some scenarios, there would be important interdisciplinaryadvances in formal knowledge, especiallyin relation to facilitating technologies—such asbiotechnology and nanotechnology—and ecology. Inothers, there would be a high degree of integration betweenthese technologies and other knowledge, suchas agroecology and traditional knowledge. In GO andTG, there would be integration between materials engineering,food technology and biology, for instance, either toexpand basic knowledge, or to generate new technologiescapable of increasing quality and efficiency or reducing productioncosts. International progress in scientific and technologicalknowledge, which would demand large amountsof resources, should be followed by AKST systems in LAC,to prevent their knowledge from becoming obsolete andthe consequent loss of relevance for the region. In view ofthe current situation of AKST investment in LAC, which isnot only limited but is also extremely heterogeneous, thesetechnological and scientific changes would pose importantthreats to the region’s systems.9. Traditional knowledge would be increasingly valuedand incorporated into certain scenarios (AM, TG).Barriers, pests, diseases, and climate change would createneeds for solutions using local knowledge, and its integrationwould be facilitated by institutional changes in thesescenarios. In the other scenarios (GO, OS, and Life as itis), the integration of traditional knowledge would occuronly occasionally, due to commercial interests and defectiveinstitutional structural arrangements.10. In some of the scenarios (GO, OS, Life as it is) advancesin formal knowledge and technological developmentlinked to productive chains would remain inthe hands of large transnational corporations. In otherwords, many countries in the region could lose the capacityto independently generate knowledge, which is the most importantfactor of development in the contemporary world.


114 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportThe scenarios indicate that the option of using local knowledgeis not sufficient to meet the demand for food, nutrition,health, and environmental development in an increasinglycomplex world. This would pose a serious threat to theregion.11. Scientific activity in LAC would change in the scenarios,both in terms of relevant actors (public or privatesector, NGOs, and transnationals) and in termsof the sources of resources. In some scenarios, such asGO, OS, and TG, the role of the public sector in generatingknowledge and technology would be reduced, and privatestakeholders would play a more active role. Since the publicsector is the one that has historically been responsible forguaranteeing a similar capacity for access to knowledge andtechnology to the most vulnerable social groups—while theprivate sector has not had this function (although it mayengage in acts of corporate social responsibility), and NGOsdo not really have the capacity to perform it—the generationof knowledge and technology to equalize adverse economic,social, and cultural conditions would not be guaranteed inthese scenarios.12. The scenarios indicate that agricultural knowledge,and science and technology applied to agriculture arenecessary but not sufficient to help in achieving thepurposes of the IAASTD, namely, to reduce hungerand poverty, and ensure sustainable development andfood security. AKST systems are not sufficient in and ofthemselves, because other factors, such as governance, legaland regulatory institutions, international trade practices,and the like, are fundamental and more inclusive than scienceand technology in actually achieving sustainable development,which leads to a real reduction in hunger and theeradication of poverty. Based on the results of the analysisof these scenarios, in the subsequent chapters specific innovationpolicies oriented to achieving these objectives are described,in addition to sustainable development policies forvulnerable groups, to supplement the action of the AKSTsystems.3.1 Objectives of the ChapterThis purpose of this chapter is to help answer the followingquestion: “How can we reduce hunger and poverty, improverural livelihoods, and facilitate equitable, environmentally,socially, and economically sustainable development throughthe generation of, access to, and use of agricultural knowledge,science, and technology?”With specific reference to Latin America and the Caribbean,these future alternatives for the development of thisregion can be used to propose nonprescriptive recommendationsas to how science and technology can best contributeto this development. 21To meet this objective, the chapter presents five scenarioson development of agriculture (sensu lato), agriculturalproduction systems, and the knowledge, science andtechnology associated with them. The scenarios describedare: (1) Global Orchestration; (2) Order from Strength;21Proposals to this end are presented in Chapters 4 and 5.(3) Adapting Mosaic; (4) TechnoGarden; and (5) Life asit is.The first four scenarios follow the Millennium Scenarios(Carpenter et al., 2005), and take the same name andbroader macro-context or major premises used to analyzethe relationships among the variables of the context closestto Latin America and the Caribbean and the variables thatdefine the agricultural knowledge, science and technologysystems and agricultural production systems in the region.The fifth scenario was designed as a continuation into thefuture of these systems, with their influences and interaction,as they are today. In other words, it portrays a world basedon the premise that the future is similar to the past, whereasthe other scenarios use the present as a point of departure toexplore future alternatives (that are not a mere continuationof the present). Therefore, the fifth scenario is what is usuallycalled a “trend scenario” or “business as usual.”Why use these scenarios?The future is full of uncertainties for medium- and long-termpolicy makers, who need to understand what their worldswill look like in five to ten years from now, for decisionmakingpurposes. In these times of extensive and speedyglobal intercommunications, the social, political, and economiccontexts of societies change, and they are in turnmodified with surprising speed. The task of understandinghow these changes can alter the future and our societies isthus a difficult one and involves a great deal of uncertainty.Building scenarios is a methodology used to help understandthe future and, consequently to support decisionmakingon current policies and strategies. The scenarios arenot linked to rigid mathematical formulas, unchangeableover time, but instead they offer a probable vision of the futureand of the nature of complex phenomena (such as thoseconsidered in this paper) and of how that situation is arrivedat on the basis of the present and a behavioral model ofvarious types of social, economic, environmental and technologicalphenomena, among others, and their interaction.The scenarios make it possible to manage the uncertaintywhich necessarily characterizes the future, by creating plausiblefutures, or descriptions of what may occur in future,depending on the premises regarding selection of socialstakeholders in relation to different macrovariables.This vision of plausible futures is clearly subjective, butit is based on a critical analysis of existing information onthe past and present and on methodologies—the scenarios—that lead to a systematic understanding of the future, or, bettersaid, futures. The future could be like this, if it is not likethat. This “could be” is reasonably credible here and now.3.2 Conceptual FrameworkSome concepts are fundamental for building the scenariospresented in this chapter. These concepts include thefollowing.The concept of the future. In reality, the future is somethingthat does not exist and cannot be attained, because whenyou think that you have arrived at the future, in truth itis actually the present. Thus, when one studies the future,what is studied are the images or perceptions that can influencepresent activities of persons or of the organization that


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 115is interested in them. The concept of the future is relatedto several basic dimensions: (1) Time, the perception andmeasurement of which, in some societies, is related to thecycles of nature and natural phenomena that are repeated.This dimension leads to a concept of the future as a naturalsequence of the past and present; (2) Advances in knowledgeand technology. This dimension brings a perspective ofevolution and change for contemporary societies, which isdifferent from the previous idea of the future as a continuationof the past. It implies a turbulent atmosphere, in constanttransformation, in which studies of the future becomemore difficult and at the same time more necessary.Moreover, it is important to consider present influences,or the relationships among the phenomena that influencethe present, as well as the possible emergence of new influences.Thus, to be able to understand the future, the currentinfluences on the present must be understood, but accountmust also be taken of possible emerging events. This lastconsideration implies a degree of uncertainty, for the futureor futures, to the extent that it expands the horizon of timein which the future is analyzed.The concepts of present influences and future uncertaintyare combined in the concept of the future adoptedin this chapter. According to this concept, the future is theresult of the interaction between historical trends and theoccurrence of hypothetical events.A prospective view is an attempt to understand the futurethat considers the dynamics of various types of influences,including scientific-technological, social, economicand environmental factors, which act on social systems overtime, in order to build plausible alternative futures on thebasis of this analysis.The systemic approach. In systems theory, the whole, or thesystem, is the product of its interactive parts, which mustbe understood and known as they relate to the operation ofthe whole. Among the conceptual frameworks of the systemicapproach, the concepts of system, limits, hierarchy,and systemic model are the ones that are most useful for theprospective studies presented in this chapter.A system is a series of interactive parts or componentsof interest to the researcher, according to Milsun’s definitionin Jones (1970). What are the systems of interest in the caseof this chapter?The very question underlying this entire evaluation providesthe clues for identifying these systems. The questionrefers to systems of agricultural knowledge, science, andtechnology and also systems in which sustainable developmentoccurs, especially in the rural environment. The questionalso makes specific reference to the relations amongthese systems, in referring to the contributions of one to theresults of another.What are the limits of the systems to be analyzed? In thischapter, the limits are defined as follows:• For knowledge, science, and technology systems (AKST),they include the so-called systems of traditional and localknowledge, i.e., the “dynamic body of knowledgeand practices accumulated by traditional communitiesand by agricultural production systems, based on theirinteraction with nature and their agricultural activities.”They also include formal systems of science and technology,or, more specifically, research and development(R&D) designed to generate technology and know-howfor agricultural production systems;• For systems where there is sustainable development, thepremise contained in the question underlying this evaluationis that they must be agricultural production systems,because the contribution of R&D to sustainabledevelopment implied in the question can only occur onthe basis of its action on those systems.Moreover, these two systems not only interact with eachother, but are also subject to the influence of other larger,more embracing systems, the system that could be referredto as the macro-context or, more simply, the context, whichinvolves all of the different types of influences that are notgenerated in the R&D systems and in agricultural productionsystems.The complexity of the systems is simplified in the modelsthat represent them. A general model to represent thequestion on which this evaluation and chapter are based canbe found in Figure 3-1.3.3 MethodologyThe first stage in the scenario building process is to preparea model that represents the relations among the systemsof interest (the R&D systems, the agricultural productionsystems, and their context), in more detail than what ispresented in Figure 3-1. Although consideration should begiven to the model presented in Figure 3-1, it is too generalto guide construction of the scenarios.Thus we worked on the basis of a recently constructedmodel and variables for another study of the future. Thisstudy was undertaken in an attempt to understand thechanges in the context of R&D systems that would affectthe development of these systems over a period of ten years(around 2015) in six countries in Latin America (Castro etal., 2005; Lima et al, 2005; Santamaría et al, 2005).Consequently, for the variables described by R&Dsystems and their context, the same variables used in thatstudy were considered for this analysis. For the variablesthat describe agricultural production systems, a process ofcollective creation and bibliographic review made it possibleto identify the relevant variables for those systems. All thevariables considered in this chapter are presented in Table3-1.Research and developmentsystemsMacro-environmentAgriculture productivesystemsFigure 3-1. The relationships among relevant systems in AKST.Source: Authors’ elaboration


116 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 3-1. Definition of structures and variables included in the model.Structure Variable Variable’s definitionBarriers to InternationaltradeCompetitiveness ofagricultural businessMacro-contextNon-tariff barriers based onsocial concernsMonitoring protocols andregulations for assuringproduct traceability andquality certificationNon-tariff barriers based onenvironmental concernsTariff barriersCompetitiveness ofagricultural businessDifferentiation of innovativeproductsAccess to markets ofinnovative differentiatedproductsInformation andCommunication Technology(ICT) as a tool for facilitatingcommercial transactions inagri-businessCommodities’ costsIt is the body of officialregulations and directivesbased on social indicatorsdevised for the supply chain,which restrict the trade ofagricultural products andservices.It is the body of officialregulations and directivesrelevant to the quality offood and products along thesupply chain, with the aimof ensuring their safety toboth domestic and foreigncustomers.It is the body of officialregulations and directivesbased on environmentalindicators devised for thesupply chain, which restrictthe trade of agriculturalproducts and services.It is the body of officialregulations and directivesintended to protect the tradeof domestic agri-businessproducts from externalcompetition.Ability of LAC agri-businessto displace similar productsand services from marketsby offering products andservices at prices andqualities demanded byconsumers.Products with increasedadded value from the useof R&D processes andmarketing.Placement of innovativeproducts with increasedadded value in internationalmarketsUse of diverse electroniccommunication resourcesto reduce transaction costsin the trade of agri-businessproducts.Production and transactioncosts of commodities in agribusiness.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 117Table 3-1. continued.Structure Variable Variable’s definitionDemands from finalconsumersDemands from finalconsumersDemand for healthy andsafe foodsConsumer informationDemands for diversificationof agri-business productsfrom several segments offinal consumers.Public’s interest in foodsharmless to health andnutraceuticals (foods withmedicinal effects).Free access to productinformation as suited to theneeds of final consumers.Climate change Climate change The effects of increasedfrequency and intensity ofclimate phenomena driven bytemperature, rainfall, wind,etc. on agricultural activities.Epidemics/foodcontaminationAdvances in knowledgeTraditional/indigenousknowledgeDiseases, pests and foodcontaminationAdvances in biology andbiotechnologyAdvances in informationtechnologyAdvances innanotechnologyTraditional/indigenousknowledgeOccasional outbreaksof diseases, pests and/or diverse kinds of foodcontamination in differentcountries and regions.Research in biology andbiotechnology movessteadily on the discoveryof fundamental biologicalknowledge.Information andCommunication Technology(ICT)’s progress on novelmodes for the communicationand flow of information.Progress on fundamentalnanotechnologicalknowledge.Dynamic body of knowledgeand practices accumulatedby traditional/indigenouscommunities and agriculturalproduction systems as aresult from the interactionbetween the latter andboth nature and agriculturalpractice.Social monitoring ofinnovationPublic perception of S&T(Science and Technology)Social monitoring ofinnovationPublic trust on the resultsand conclusions fromscientific and technologicalactivities.Involvement of social actorson the aims, planning,implementation, results andimpacts of S&T activities.Governance Governance A wide and inclusive socialcompact buttresses thestability of social, economic,environmental and innovationpolicies in LAC.continued


118 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 3-1. continued.Structure Variable Variable’s definitionPolicies fordevelopmentIntegration of policiesfor innovation and socialdevelopmentProposal andimplementation ofagricultural policiesBiosecurity policiesSocial development policiesDevelopment is facilitated by theintegration of national, sub-nationalentity and sectorial policies.The ability to devise agriculturalpolicies together with the existenceof organizations and institutionsprepared to implement them.Policies for reducing the intrinsicrisks of foods and agriculture(environmental risks included)These are policies for the securityof food, health and the life ofplants and animals.Policies for facilitating the accessof vulnerable rural and urbanpopulations to education, credit,health and housing.Incentive policies forresearchPolicies for the development ofscience and technology.Management ofregulations andstandardsEducation of PS actorsUrban food securityRegulations and standardsImplementation ofregulations and standardsEducation of PS actorsAccess to food securityThe mechanisms that (a) regulateintellectual property rights forthe results of scientific research,including the production of livingorganisms (cultivars) and (b)set the provisions for tradingagricultural products in LAC andother world regions.Set of actions addressing theimplementation and monitoringof regulations and directivesgoverning agricultural S&T andagricultural products.Degree of schooling of productivesystems’ actors.Ability of urban consumers(particularly the poor ones) forregularly purchasing food inenough quantities for ensuringtheir well-being.Access to food securityAbility of urban consumers(particularly the poor ones) forregularly purchasing healthyfood in the sense of low risksas to biological contamination,allergenic potential and pollution.Social inequality Social inequality Relative access to employment,food security, education and healthof different social groups—like,e.g., small family farmers,subsistence farmers, large farmers,wage earners—involved inagricultural production activities.Environmentalsustainability ofagricultureEnvironmental sustainabilityof agricultureAbility of the agro-ecosystem tokeep its productive functionality infuture times.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 119Table 3-1. continued.Structure Variable Variable’s definitionR+D systemsFocus of research Focus of research Strategic orientation of theobjectives and results from R+Dactivities to social groups attendedby them.Harmony between R+Dorganizations and theirsocial environmentPriorized activitiesDemands for researchCongruence between the mission,objectives and products from R+Dorganizations and the needs andexpectations of their clients, users,beneficiaries and other pertinentstakeholders.Strategic choice of topics/problemsfor developing projects and projectportfolios in R+D organizations.The need of knowledge andtechnology to take advantage ofopportunities or to remove checkson the performance of agriculturalproduction systems.Survey of future demandsfor researchSystematic evaluation of likelydemands for research in the future.Incorporation of formalknowledgeIncorporation of formalknowledgeIncorporation of advances in formalknowledge to the R+D process.Incorporation oftraditional/indigenousknowledgeIncorporation of traditional/indigenous knowledgeIncorporation of traditional/indigenous knowledge andpractices to the formal processof knowledge and technologyproduction.Availability of resourcesfor R+DAlternative resources forfunding R+DFunding for R&D productionInfrastructure for theproduction of R+DAlternative non-fiscal sources ofR+D funding.Funding necessary for producingthe technologies and knowlegedemanded by the clients/users ofR&DFacilities and equipment necessaryfor the production of knowledgeand technologies demanded by theclients/users of R+D.Infrastructurefor the production of R+Dcontinued


120 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportTable 3-1. continued.Structure Variable Variable’s definitionPerformance of R+DsystemsProducts and servicesgenerated by R+DEffectiveness of R+DEfficiency of R+DSystem for projectplanning, monitoring andevaluation (PME) in R+DorganizationsPortfolio of products and servicesgenerated by R+D organizationsfor their clients.Products are delivered accordingto consumer, client, and wholesociety needs.Ability of R+D organizations togenerate lowest-cost productsand services.The systematic process forsetting objectives/goals,procuring and distributingresources, implementing projectsand programs, and adjusting theimplementation and evaluationof projects and final servicesobtained from R+D organizations.Management of R+DRelative spaces ofpublic and private R&DProject portfolioProjectsManagement of researchteamsMultidisciplinary approachReward systemsRelative spaces of publicand private R&DPublic-private alliancesCompetition betweenagricultural R+DorganizationsPrivatization of the R+DsystemCollection of projects intended tosolve a large national or regionalstrategic problem.Management tool with goalsclearly defined by: the nature ofa problem; a particular request;particular favourable conditionsfor meeting some goals; or theinterest of groups that seektranslating ideas into concreteresults in a prestablished periodof time and at a known cost.Mechanisms of planning,monitoring, evaluation andorganization of R&D work.Interaction, synergism andinterfacing among diverse fieldsof knowledge.Processes for valuing orapproving (or both) the resultsof research work in R+Dorganizations by means of bothmaterial and immaterial rewards.Fields covered by each of publicand private research organizationsAgreements between public andprivate organizations with theaim of complementing resourcesfor projects in which there is acommon research interest.Strategies of public and privateR+D organizations to predominatein markets for agricultural industrytechnologies.Complete transfer of public R+Dinfrastructure and activities to thenational or international privatesector.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 121Table 3-1. continued.Structure Variable Variable’s definitionSocial involvement inthe management of R+DProper technologies foragricultural activitiesSocial involvement in themanagement of R+DProper technologies foragricultural activitiesSocial groups are involved in thedecision making and implementationof R+D activities.The degree with which thetechnologies generated by R+Dsystems support sustainabledevelopment and also are suitableto the culture, resources andconditions of the agriculturalproduction systems.Agricultural Agricultural production production systems systemsIncorporation ofknowledge toproductive systemsAttended marketsSocial organization ofvulnerable productionsystemsAvailability of resourcesfor agricultureSupport to theincorporation of knowledgeIncorporation of knowledgeto productive systemsIntegration of productionchainsAttended marketsSocial organization ofvulnerable productionsystemsSocial movements focalizedon the most vulnerableproduction systemsAvailability of resources foragricultureOperation of mechanisms for givingtechnical assistance (public orprivate) to productive systems foradopting appropriate technologies.Choice and adoption of appropriatetechnologies by productive systems.Degree of connectivity with andparticipation of productive systemsin established production chains.These are the markets agriculturalproduction systems send theirproduce.It is a mechanism for attainingeconomies of scale in production,negotiation capacity, andimprovements in the managementand trade of agricultural productivesystems goods and services.Social mobilization as an instrumentfor accessing resources andempowering production systems.Access of production systems tocredit, land, water and knowledge.Performance ofagricultural productivesystemsRent inequality inagricultureSource: Authors’ elaboration.EfficiencyQuality of products andprocessesProducts, subproducts andwasteRent inequality inagricultureRelationship between costs ofproduction and returns in productivesystems.Sustainability of agriculturalproducts and processes, and thedegree of agreement between themand consumer needs.Characteristics of the products, subproducts and waste in regard to theireffect on the environment.Relative access to rent by diversesocial groups involved in agriculturalproduction, like family farmers,salaried employees, subsistencefarmers, large producers, etc.).


122 | Latin America and the Caribbean ReportNext, the relationships among these variables were studiedwith the help of a crossed impact matrix. This matrixmakes it possible to analyze the direct relationships betweeneach pair of variables in terms of intensity, type, and directionof the interaction. Based on that analysis, the model ofrelations shown in Figure 3-2 was built.On the basis of this model, a selection was made of thevariables considered as the critical factors for understandingthe future in the scenarios. These variables are: the demandsfor and focus or focal point of the R&D; technologies adaptedto the agricultural production systems; incorporation ofknowledge into agricultural production systems; availableresources for agricultural production systems, performanceof agricultural production systems; income inequality; socialinequality; urban food security; and, environmental sustainabilityin agriculture. These last four critical factors describethe results of the interactions between the context and thetwo (R&D and production) systems of interest. For each ofthe critical factors, submodels were prepared, that show thedirect relationships with other variables based on the modelpresented in Figure 3-2. Examples of submodels for the fourmacrovariables of results (income inequality, social inequality,urban food security, and environmental sustainability inagriculture) are shown in Figures 3-3 to 3-6.The scenarios were designed on the basis of these models,using the morphological analysis matrix tool. It takesinto account the plausible situation of the variables for thetime horizon under analysis. Then, the situation—consideredas the hypothetical future development of each variable—islinked to the themes of the five scenarios: (1) Global Orchestration;(2) Order from Strength; (3) Adapting Mosaic;(4) TechnoGarden; and (5) Life as it is.The first four scenarios follow the Millennium Scenarios(Carpenter et al., 2005), and take the same name and thebroader macro-context or the main premises used to analyzethe relationships between the variables of the context closestto Latin America and the Caribbean and the variables thatdefine the agricultural knowledge, science and technologysystems and the agricultural production systems in the region.In these scenarios, the interaction of two macrovariables(integration among countries and action related toenvironmental services) defines the major forces that determinethe entire scenario. Table 3-2 presents these premises,both for the themes taken from the millennium scenariosand for the “business as usual” scenario.The link between themes and descriptions of situationsresulted in the matrix of scenarios and in the first versionof the scenarios themselves for two time periods: 2007-Figure 3-2. Model for the relationships among contextual variables, R&D systems and agricultural productive systems. Source: Authors’elaboration.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 123Figure 3-3. Sub-model for the critical factor: inequality of rent in agriculture. Source: Authors’ elaboration.2015 and 2016-2030. The authors revised these scenariosto obtain a working paper, that was submitted to around 50specialists from Colombia and Brazil for validation on thefollowing themes: climate change and environmental sustainability;governance and development policies; advancesin know-how (biotechnology and nanotechnology); epidemics,pests, and contamination of food; economic and socialdevelopment; and, traditional knowledge (appreciation of itand its inclusion in R&D).The validation process entailed an evaluation of theplausibility of each description of these variables in the differentscenarios and time periods, using a ten-point scale,Figure 3-4. Sub-model for the critical factor: social inequality. Source: Authors’ elaboration.


124 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportFigure 3-5. Sub-model for the critical factor: urban food security. Source: Authors’ elaboration.with “1” representing the point of least plausibility and“10” total plausibility. For ratings of less than 5, the specialistswere asked to indicate (1) a reason justifying the assessmentor rating, and (2) a suggestion for improving theplausibility of the description.The scenarios were adjusted on the basis of that evaluationand also on the basis of comments and suggestionsby other external reviewers. These adjusted scenarios arepresented below.3.4 Scenarios: AKST and SustainableDevelopment in LAC in the Future (2007-2030)Table 3-3 presents the current situation of the indicatorsselected for the variables considered in this study of the future.Based on this table it is possible to identify that thereare countries at present that are more or less vulnerable inrelation to these indicators. Vulnerability is defined as “theweak capacity of an individual or group response to risksand uncertainty . . . ; a predisposition to a drop in well-be-Figure 3-6. Sub-model for the critical factor: Environmental sustainability of agriculture. Source:Authors’ elaboration.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 125Table 3-2. Subjects used for scenario building.Approach inrelation to themanagement ofenvironmentalservicesApproach in relation to governability and economic developmentGlobalized Mixed RegionalizedReactive Global orchestration — Order from strengthMixed — Life as it is —Proactive TechnoGarden — Adapting MosaicSource: Authors’ elaboration.ing, based on a configuration of negative attributes to achievematerial and symbolic returns . . . ; a negative predispositionto overcome adverse conditions.” (Filgueira and Peri, 2004).All of the countries are presented with greater or less vulnerability,depending on the indicator/variable considered.The scenarios built on the basis of the variables indicatedare presented below. A summarized version of the scenarios,referring to all the variables used in their construction, ispresented in Table 3-4.3.4.1 Global Orchestration3.4.1.1 2007-20153.4.1.1.1 Context of the AKST systems and agriculturalproductionThe world and LAC are shifting toward the absence ofbarriers—except for health barriers—to international tradein agricultural products. This increases competition amongcountries, which fight for market shares on the basis of pricesof differentiated products. The LAC countries alreadyestablished in commodities markets (including Argentina,Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico) endeavorwith some success to gain a place on the most dynamic markets—UnitedStates, China, and India—and on the marketfor differentiated products.Throughout the world, the diversity of consumer demandfor differentiated foods increases, on the basis offlavor, appearance, nutritional value, nutraceutical properties,bromatological quality, or another such factor. Inmany countries, consumers demand quality certification forprocessed foods, referring to such matters as the absenceof agrotoxins, child labor, genetically modified organizations,and animal suffering. There is also a rising demandfor traceable food products. In LAC, the growing educationof the people and increased availability of information leadto greater exigency on the part of consumers, although consumersare more concerned over damage to their health thanover aspects related to environmental protection.During this period of time, in most of the region thefrequency or severity of epidemics is not on the rise, dueto the incentive to implement good management practicesin production systems, the development of appropriate researchfor prevention and management of epidemics and thesearch for safe foods, and the development of capacity andregional cooperation to prevent new epidemics.In some parts of the region, there are major changesin land use patterns. For instance, large tracts of land areused for single crops for production of biofuels, which mayencourage the manifestation of new epidemics. Similarly, inareas already highly affected by early manifestations of climatechange, such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and thelike, and in zones where no adaptation policies have beenplanned, conditions are ripe for the proliferation of epidemicsor emergence of new pests.The temperature is rising at the rate of 0.22C-0.24Cper decade, and so the frequency of extreme phenomenaincreases. Their effects are relevant and range widely for theagriculture and production systems in the region, due primarilyto the equally widely ranging capacity of adaptationand mitigation. Decision-makers and societies in general,especially in LAC, do not show much concern over theseclimate changes.Some countries establish social development, innovation,environmental, and biosecurity and biosafety policiesthat are coherent and consistent with the major economicdevelopment objectives. Consequently, those countries increasinglyimprove their capacity to manage these policies.Other countries in the region still have relatively ill-definedand short-sighted policies, in addition to a weak managementstructure. However, as a rule, the governance situationimproves considerably up to the end of the period.Education is considered an essential factor for improvingthe trade competitiveness of countries. The growinggeneration of wealth allows governments to make large investmentsin formal education, from basic to graduate education.The countries with a smaller economic capacity stilltry to provide at least good primary and secondary educationfor their citizens.Education of the stakeholders in production systems isalso provided by private educational institutions, along withpublic schools. The former gradually improve the quality oftheir results. Some major agricultural enterprises also cooperatein educating stakeholders in production systems, evenon a graduate level, in various countries.The most developed countries of the region make majorinvestments to develop new technologies, such as nanotechnology,and also biotechnology and information technology.Few LAC countries have the capacity to achieve major advancesin knowledge of agricultural systems and agriculture,not to mention new technologies.Both in other regions and in the LAC in general, thevalue of traditional knowledge is not recognized, yet somelarge private enterprises seek this knowledge to create newproducts, such as pharmaceutics or plant-based insecticides,to be used intensively by agricultural production systems.


126 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 3-3. Selected indicators: current situation of variables.Variable Current situation SourceTariff barriersContext variables for AKST systems and agricultural production systemsIn LAC there are lower import tariffs, and no subsidies to exports and productionof goods compared to the both the World and rich countries.Anderson yValenzuela, 2006Non-tariff barriersAgricultural exports are the most likely to be penalized with non-tariff barriers. Thiseffect is less in LAC than in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, USA, Canadaand Japan. Agricultural exports are the most likely to be penalized with non-tariffbarriers. This effect is less in LAC than in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe,USA, Canada and Japan.Bora et al., 2002Market competitivenessAgricultural products: net-exporting countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile,Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,Nicaragua; net-importing countries: Peru, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica andTrinidad and Tobago. Foods: net-exporting countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua; net-importing countries of foods and agriculturalproducts: Peru, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico,Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.de Ferranti et al.,2005Demands from finalconsumersConsumers increasingly demand better quality in foods. According to Renard(1999) quality—in its manifold dimensions and meanings—is the factor that bindstogether consumers, wholesalers, industry and farm production.Renard, 1999Epidemics/foodcontaminationIn developed countries many episodes of transboundary diseases have beenrecorded since the 1980s.Jaffee et al.,2005In LAC the foot-and-mouth disease and the avian flu are epizootics of muchconcern because of their impacts on important sources of work and earnings forrural communities. The capacity to quickly and effectively react to transboundarydiseases’ outbreaks would expose institutional weaknesses in many LAC countriesas well as agencies responsible for monitoring, prevention and sanitary controlof those kinds of diseases. The diverse agricultural production methods in usedecrease the effectiveness of international monitoring and harmonization of publicprogrammes for preventing and fighting transboundary diseases.CEPAL, 2006In regards to avian flu a team from the Inter-American Development Bankassessed the integration of agricultural and health measures before an outbreak ofthat kind of disease. It is shown that the degree of that integration is greater in theSouthern Cone than in other regions of LAC (Central America, Andean countriesand Latin Caribbean). The countries in the Southern Cone show some differencesin the degree of integration among themselves. In regard to poultry consumption, itaccounts for 35% of meat consumption in LAC, 42% in Central America and 45%in the Latin Caribbean. These relatively high percentages point to the existence ofa food insecurity risk in the event of an outbreak of avian flu.Schneider et al.,2007If the following three indicators—i.e., units for veterinary practice, availablepersonnel, and economic resources—were taken in account for combating footand-mouthdisease on an area basis in South America, each of Bolivia, Chile,Guyana and Peru has two out of those three indicators with lower values thanin the rest of the continent. Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay are the lessvulnerable countries.PANAFTOSA,2006Climate changeParameters related to agriculture. Severe environmental restrictions to dry landfarming in LAC 1961-1990: Central America and the Caribbean, 51% (mostly aridlands); South America, 61.9% (poor soils). Lands without restrictions: 10% ofLAC. Average yield potential 1961-1990 (Mtons/year): Central America, 101; SouthAmerica, 543; developed countries, 0.002815.Fischer et al.,2005


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 127Table 3-3. continued.Variable Current situation SourceGovernance and policiesin LACPolitical stability. Positive values for Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Cuba and theDominican Republic; negative values for the rest of the countries, and particularlysmall values for Haiti, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador,Colombia, Guatemala and Peru. Government effectiveness: Positive values forChile, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Panamá; negative values forthe rest of the countries, and smaller values for Haiti, Ecuador, Cuba, the BolivarianRepublic of Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia. Regulatory Quality: Positive valuesfor Colombia, Brasil, Peru, El Salvador, Panamá, Uruguay, México, Costa Rica,Trinidad and Tobago and Chile; negative values for the rest of the countries, andsmaller values for Cuba, Haiti, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador.For all three indicators, positive values were given to Uruguay, Costa Rica, andChile, and negative ones to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Ecuador,Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, Guayana, and Nicaragua.Kaufmann et al.,2006Education: Education quality is assessed by the average number of students withmathematical skills in three education levels: basic, primary and secondary. Thereis a correlation between the quality values measured in urban and in rural students,but in no case average values are greater in the rural students. Country-wise Cubashows high skill scores in both student populations (greater than 90%); Brasil,Chile and Argentina reach 80% skill in urban students; the Bolivarian Republic ofVenezuela Paraguay, México, and Colombia show skill values ranging from 50%to 70% for both urban and rural students. The rest of the countries—Perú, Bolivia,Honduras, and the Dominican Republic—show values below 60% for both theurban and rural students.de Ferranti et al.,2005Advances in formalknowledgeThe private sector invests annually more than US$1.5 billion in biotechnology in alarge part of developed countries; public organizations doing agricultural researchin developing countries invest US$100-150 million per year; the CGIAR centersinvest about US$25 million per year; and the Rockefeller Foundation and othernon-profit organizations annually invest about US$40-50 million.Byerlee andFischer, 2000Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile are the LAC countries with more firms,publications and patents in biotechnology.Niosi y Reid,2007The largest investments in nanotechnology in 2004 were made in Europe (US$1.32billion), North America (US$1.28 billion) and Asia (US$1.16 billion); in LACbiotechnology as a whole received US$16.2 million from only three countries:Mexico (61.7%), Brazil (35.8%) and Argentina (2.5%).Simonis ySchilthuizen,2006Traditional/indigenousknowledgeThis knowledge is in steady progress. The following features distinguishes it fromoccidental scientific knowledge: (1) it is verbally recorded and transmitted; (2) it isnourished by observation and experience; (3) its cosmology is rooted in the viewthat Nature is instilled with spirituality; (4) it is intuitive; (5) it is qualitative; (6) it isbased on data generated by its users and (7) it is grounded in a social contextwhich sees the world through multiple social and spiritual relationships among allforms of life.Dutfield, 2001The intellectual property of traditional knowledge of biodiversity, phyto-geneticresources, and products derived from natural principles found in wild species byindigenous communities and peoples is still an unsettled question.WIPO, 2001Focus of researchThere presently are three processes highly relevant for R+D in LAC and runningin six countries (Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Panamá, Peru and the Bolivarian Republicof Venezuela). Those are concerned with high productivity; increase of resistanceto pests and diseases; and biological control of pests and diseases. Themanagement of water quality and use; survey and conservation in situ and ex situof germplasm; and management, zoning and conservationist agriculture are thebest assessed environmental subjects in LAC. The applications of biotechnology,livestock and plant production were considered of greatest relevance.Variables of AKST systemsCastro et al.,2005; Limaet al., 2005;Santamaría G.et al., 2005;Ramirez-GastónR. et al., 2007;Saldaña et al.,2006continued


128 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 3-3. continued.Variable Current situation SourceFocalized socialsegmentsCapacity in R+DIn most countries in LAC—except Cuba—R+D is better informed on the supplychainsegments represented by big and medium producers, agri-business,wholesalers, and retailers than on subsistence producers and indigenouscommunities.There is a “specialization index” that equals “1” for the case of all researcherswith completed tertiary (university) education, and is “3” for all researchers witha doctorate. For Brazil, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Trinidad andTobago, the value of the index is “2”; for Costa Rica, Bolivia and Colombia, theaverage index is above “1.5” and for the rest of the countries, it is above “1”.Countries with the lowest formation level (most of researchers with a licentiatedegree) are Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. There are no data for Cuba.Castro et al.,2005; Limaet al., 2005;Santamaría G.et al., 2005;Ramirez-GastónR. et al., 2007;Saldaña et al.,2006RICYT, 2007.Investment inagricultural R+DThe countries which invest more in terms of average GDP (1990-2004) are Brazil(0.9%), Cuba, Chile (about 0.6%), Argentina, Mexico, and Panamá (about 0.4%);the rest of the countries invest less than 0.3%, and some below 0.1% (Ecuador, ElSalvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Paraguay).RICYT, 2007PerformanceRelative spaces ofpublic and private R+DTechnologies that because of their relevance are presently considered “leadingtechnologies” for most of countries are those addressing the following changesin agricultural production systems: (a) Increase in agricultural and silviculturalproductivities; (b) reduction of agricultural and silvicultural production costs; (c)improvement of product quality in production chains; (d) food security; and (e)improvement process quality in agricultural and silvicultural production chains.These technologies are more suitable for medium and big producers, but less sofor agri-business.In Latin America a scenario is emerging such that the private sector is becomingkeener to invest in R+D activities, particularly in the improvement of cultivars ofcrops like corn (and increasingly soybean), which would readily produce profits. InBrazil it is also observed a growing participation of the private sector—the nationalone mostly—in R+D.Castro et al.,2005; Limaet al., 2005;Santamaría G.et al., 2005;Ramirez-GastónR. et al., 2007;Saldaña et al.,2006Castro et al.,2005; Lima etal., 2005; Castroet al., 2006There are evidences that in Argentina the transnational private sector invests inbiotechnology about six times the amount invested by the public sector.Varela y Bisang,2006Incorporation ofknowledge to agricultureVariables for agricultural production systemsThe countries which invest more in terms of average GDP (1990-2004) are Brazil RICYT, 2007(0.9%), Cuba, Chile (about 0.6%), Argentina, Mexico, and Panamá (about 0.4%);the rest of the countries invest less than 0.3%, and some below 0.1% (Ecuador, ElSalvador, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Paraguay).Resources foragricultureExpenses per rural inhabitant (1991-2001). >US$1,000: Uruguay; >US$150 &US$75 &


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 129Table 3-3. continued.Variable Current situation SourcePerformance ofagricultural systems inLAC 1Agricultural GDP (USD million in 1995) for 2002. (a) Greater than 60,000: Brazil; (b)10,000-20,000: Mexico, Argentina and Colombia: (c) 5,000-9,999: Peru and Chileand (d) 400-4,999: Ecuador, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Guatemala,Cuba, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Costar Rica, Uruguay, El Salvador, Bolivia,Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Haiti.RLC-FAO, 2004Share of agricultural GDP of total GDP (%) in 2002. (a) Greater than 40%:Guyana; (b) 20%-39%: Nicaragua, Paraguay, Ecuador, Belize and Guatemala; (c)10%-19%: Honduras, Haiti, Dominica, Bolivia, Colombia, Suriname, DominicanRepublic, El Salvador and Costa Rica and (d) Lower than 10%: Saint Lucia, Peru,Grenada, Brazil, Uruguay, Panama, Jamaica, Chile, Argentina, the BolivarianRepublic of Venezuela, Cuba, Barbados, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.RLC-FAO, 2004RentRent inequalityInteractions between the agricultural production and the AKST systemsRent per capita. More than US$9,655: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, theBolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad andTobago; US$875-3,125: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, El Salvador,Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica; Less than US$875:Haiti.Between 1998 and 2005 the difference between the most rich and the mostpoor—an indicator of social inequality—in some LAC countries shrank between8% and 23%; those countries were Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador,Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Therelatively large difference in percent values was due to an increased participationof the lowest four population deciles as well as a decrease in the participation ofthe richest population decile. Chile and Costa Rica did not show any change inthat indicator. Colombia, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay insteadshowed increases not greater than 13%. The value of the Gini Index confirmsthe emerging trend to an improvement in wealth distribution. Brazil, El Salvador,Paraguay and Peru showed a substantial decrease (4% to 7%) in the value ofthat index: however, Honduras showed a marked increase in the value of the GiniIndex.During the longer period 1990-2005, in Uruguay and Panama urban wealthdistributivity markedly increase, as attested by a decrease of about 8% in the GiniIndex. Honduras followed the same path, with a decrease of 4% in the value ofthat index. On the other hand, urban areas in Ecuador and metropolitan Asunciónin Paraguay yielded a 10% increase in the value of the Gini Index, which amountsto a sizeable increase in the concentration of wealth. The index also decreasedfrom 4% to 7% for Argentina (Great Buenos Aires area), Costa Rica and theBolivarian Republic of Venezuela.In 2005 Bolivia, Brazil, Honduras and Colombia showed relatively large values(ranging from 0.584 to 0.614) of the Gini Index. The lowest value of that range(0.584) was greater than the upper value of the range 0.526-0.579 obtained forNicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Guatemala, Paraguay, México andArgentina. Inequality (as measured by the Gini Index) was still less (0,470-0,513)for Ecuador, Peru, Panama, El Salvador, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela andCosta Rica. Uruguay was the only country with a low inequality level: Gini Index of0,451.World Bank2003CEPAL, 2006Social developmentConcern with meeting people’s basic needs (e.g., assistance to educationpremises, sanitation, electricity, drinking water, five or more years of schooling,dwelling, avoidance of overcrowding, etc.) as measured by an index running from0% to 100%. High (equal to or greater than 70%): Panama, Argentina, Chile, CostaRica, Uruguay and Brazil; medium (50%-69%): Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, theBolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Guatemala; below average (25%-49%): ElSalvador, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Honduras.CEPAL, 2005acontinued


130 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 3-3. continued.Variable Current situation SourceFood securityDuring 1979-2000, daily consumption increased about 10 kcal per capita in Peru,Ecuador, Honduras, Colombia and Brasil, but it decreased or did not change inHaiti, Argentina, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba y the Bolivarian Republicof Venezuela.Morón et al.,2005Food sustainabilityProportion of undernourished population. Greater than 35%: Haiti (improving);20%-34%: Bolivia (improving), the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras(stable), Panama and Guatemala (deteriorating); 10%-19%: Peru (reached theMillenium Goal), Jamaica, Colombia, Paraguay, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobagoand the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (improving); 5%-9%: Brasil and México(improving); 2%-4%: Cuba, Chile, Ecuador (reached the Millenium Goal), Uruguayand Costa Rica.The most serious environmental problems in LAC are: land and forest degradation,deforestation, losses of habitat and biodiversity, pollution/contamination of freshwatersources, marine coasts and the atmosphere.The amount of global rainfall is enough, but it is unevenly distributed; agriculture isstrongly dependent on irrigation in many areas; there has been a marked increasein livestock production and many areas are under water stress.There has been a striking increment in both crop and livestock production. Thelatter exerts a strong pressure on forest lands, even when the rate of increase inlands under agriculture has decreased. There is a noticeable trend towards soildegradation and contamination because of the intensive use of agri-chemicals,fertilizers and pesticides, salinization and deforestation. Misuse has led to soildegradation in arid, semiarid, subhumid, and dry regions.In the 1990s important advances were made in LAC towards institutionbuildingfor environmental management, the creation of a legal framework andspecific legislation directed to natural resources and the limitation of polluting/contaminant emissions, and the implementation of tools like environmental impactassessments. Despite differences among countries, total environmental expenses(i.e., public and private) did not go beyond 1% of GDP, and rarely beyond 3% oftotal public expenses.The degree of deforestation is very large. Deforestation is mainly due to theconversion of forested lands to other uses, like agriculture, livestock production,urban expansion, road and railway construction, and mining. Other causesof deforestation, which are very important in some areas but are much lesswidespread than the ones referred to above are the harvest of firewood for eitherhousehold or industrial use and the intensive exploitation of some particular treespecies. Fires may also result in large forest losses.Conventional silvicultural approaches to forest management and use thatdo not take into account the complexity of the forest ecosystem, its multipleenvironmental services and its benefits for the communities inhabiting them stillare the preferred ones in LAC. Nevertheless there currently is a trend in most of thecountries in the region to prepare national forestry plans with the idea contributingto the sustainable development of a country.Eight countries in the region are classed as mega-diverse: Bolivia, Brazil,Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru y the Bolivarian Republic ofVenezuela. The conservation of biodiversity is considered to be extremelyimportant agriculture and food security.A wide variety of plants and animals make the basis of agricultural biodiversity.However, just 14 mammal and avian species altogether make up 90% of the foodfrom animal sources people eat. And only four plant species—wheat, corn, riceand potato—provide half of the energy humankind gets from plants. Latin Americais the origin of many crops species relevant for human nutrition, like corn, beans,potato, sweet potato, tomato, cacao, cassava, peanuts and pineapple.RLC-FAO, 2006CEPAL, 2005b


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 131Table 3-3. continued.Variable Current situation SourceFood sustainability(continued)In the last 100 years three quarters of agricultural crops’ diversity has been lost;this represents a serious threat to both agriculture and food production.Forest cover (1990-2000). Increased: Uruguay and Cuba; invariable: the DominicanRepublic and Chile; decreased: (in decreasing order) Guyana, Bolivia, Colombia,Peru, Brazil, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Paraguay, Costa Rica,Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador (reduction less than10%), Jamaica, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua (reduction between 10% and30%), El Salvador and Haití (reduction between 30% and 50%).CEPAL, 2005bPopulation and povertyIn LAC there are 432.8 million people, of which 24.2% is rural population. Therewere 170.7 million employed people in 2005. Most of the urban employed (93.9%)perform non-agricultural activities, and about three-fifths (58.8%) of the ruralemployed are engaged in agricultural activities.CEPAL, 2005aThe rural population has in general relatively decreased (as a fraction of totalpopulation) in most of the LAC countries along the decade 1990-2001, except inCosta Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay andPeru. During 1994-2000, urban poverty has decreased in most of the countries,except in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. In thissame period, rural poverty decreased or remained stable, except in Guatemala,Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay; in Peru rural poverty increased.de Ferranti et al.,2005Advances in poverty reduction in LAC (1998-2005). Large (10%-20%): Ecuador,Mexico and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; intermediate (5%-10%):Colombia and Honduras; small (1%-4.9%): %): Brazil, El Salvador and Chile;Increase in poverty: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and theDominican Republic. Paraguay did not change its poverty level.CEPAL, 2005aSee also competitivity indicators in the same tab.Source: Authors’ elaboration.3.4.1.1.2 AKST systemsAt the start of this period, the public research and developmentorganizations define as priority technologies onesthat permit: (1) an increase in agricultural productivity; (2)a reduction in production costs; (3) an improvement in thequality of agricultural products; (4) an increase in food security;(5) an improvement in the quality of processes inproduction chains; (6) an improvement in the income of agriculturalproducers; (7) an increase in competitiveness ofproduction chains; (8) generation of exportable surpluses;(9) an improvement in the nutritional profile of the urbanand rural populations; (10) environmental sustainability ofagricultural systems; (11) development of mechanisms andconditions for the preferential production of farm goodsand services with a high value added; and (12) an expansionof the portfolio of basic agricultural products, includingnonfood products. This last priority makes it possibleto create an important autonomy of nonrenewable energysources by developing biofuels, such as ethanol, biodiesel,biogas, and the like, particularly in countries such as Brazil,Mexico and Argentina.In terms of the social groups to which R&D is oriented,they include first and foremost conventional large andmedium-sized producers, and extend to end consumers,agroindustry, and policymakers, and, finally, in last place,traders and merchants. Indigenous communities and subsistencefarmers are not very relevant for R&D organizations.The capacity to incorporate advances in formal knowledgeinto the creation of new technology varies in LAC. Inmost of the countries, there is a small capacity to generatesuch technology, and so efforts focus on the adaptationor import of technology, when possible. Argentina, Brazil,and Mexico have large investments in biotechnology which,together with equally large investments in nanotechnology,allow them to achieve some progress in applying these sciencesto agriculture. Traditional knowledge is taken into accountonly in isolated initiatives.Some LAC countries make an effort to set aside resourcesfor public agricultural R&D. There are also resources availablefrom many international sources linked to countries,communities of countries, and international institutions.The private system is the largest investor in research foreconomically profitable production, and endeavors to expandits portfolio of products. In a few instances this effortis shared with the public sector.In LAC countries with more institutionalized publicR&D structures, work objectives are differentiated betweenthe public and private sectors. This differentiation is drivenby the economic profit of the investment of private companiesin AKST, which is promoted by knowledge protectionlaws.Most R&D systems work with the following agriculturalproducts on a priority basis: grains, vegetables andspices, tropical fruits, and beef and fish products. Other


132 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 3-4. Brief description of the states of component variables in each scenario.VariablesBarriers tointernationaltradeGlobalOrchestrationTrade barriersare removed,but sanitary andphyto-sanitarybarriers areretainedOrder fromStrengthTrade barriersand subsidiesproliferate,particularlythose intendedto preventbioterrorismLife as it is Adapting Mosaic TechnoGardenTrade barriersand subsidiesproliferate,particularlythose intendedto preventbioterrorismTrade barriers areset, together withenvironmentallyfriendly tariffs andsubsidiesThere are tradebarriers at the outset,but by 2030 onlysanitary and phyto/sanitary barriers areretainedEpidemics/foodcontaminationAt the beginningof the period thereis an increasein disease andpest outbreaks,whose frequencyand intensityincrease steadilythrough 2030,when their controlbecomes regional.High risk of foodcontaminationThe frequencyand intensity ofdiseases andpest outbreaksincrease. Lowrisk of foodcontaminationbecause of strictbromatologicalcontrol of food toavoid bioterrorismattacksThe frequencyand intensity ofdiseases andpest outbreaksincrease. Highrisk of foodcontaminationThe frequency andintensity of diseasesand pest outbreaksincrease at thebeginning of thescenario, but theydecrease towardsthe end of it (2030)Decreasing risk offood contaminationThe frequency andintensity of diseasesand pest outbreaksincrease at thebeginning of thescenario, but theydecrease towardsthe end of it (2030) Atthis time previouslyunknown pests anddiseases come intothe fore. Decreasingrisk of foodcontaminationCompetitivenessof agriculturalbusinessHigh. LACcountries areembedded inmarkets for basicand differentiatedproductsLow, due to slowerdevelopment.LAC countriesonly compete inmarkets for basicproductsHigh. There isan increasedcompetitionfor embeddinginto markets fordifferentiatedproductsLow. Thecompetitivenessof LAC countriesslacks off. Localmarkets becomemore relevant thaninternational onesHigh competitivenessincreases becauseproduction costsare decreased anddifferentiated productsare preferentiallymanufacturedDemands fromfinal consumersConsumerdemands becomemore diversified.There is a strongerrequest forinformation on theorigin and qualityof productsRich countriesdemand diversifiedproducts; poorcountries demandcheap productsConsumerdemands becomemore diversified.There is a definitedemand forcheaper productsConsumerspreferentiallydemand localproductsmanufactured withdue care for theirenvironmentalimpacts along theproduction chainand waste disposalIn general, consumerdemands becomeincreasingly morediversified.Climate changeMean temperatureand the frequencyof extreme eventsincrease. Societyis not fully awareof climate changeimpacts. By2030 countriesfully cooperateto implementglobal mitigationand adaptationprograms.Mean temperatureand the frequencyof extremeevents increase.Society is not fullyaware of climatechange impacts.Countries do notshow mitigationand adaptationcapabilities.Mean temperatureand the frequencyof extremeevents increase.Society is not fullyaware of climatechange impacts.Countries showvariable mitigationand adaptationcapabilitiesMean temperatureand the frequencyof extreme eventsincrease. Societybecomes fullyaware of climatechange impacts.Countries increasetheir mitigationand adaptationcapabilitiesMean temperatureand the frequencyof extreme eventsdecrease. Society isfully aware of climatechange impacts.Countries have welldeveloped mitigationand adaptationcapabilities


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 133Table 3-4. continued.VariablesGlobalOrchestrationOrder fromStrengthLife as it is Adapting Mosaic TechnoGardenGovernanceGovernancereasonablyimproves but notuniformly acrossthe region. By2030 problemsderived fromthe biophysicaland socialenvironmentsbecome serious.There is a markedworsening ofgovernanceGovernanceranges frommediocre to badGovernanceprogressivelyimproves acrossthe region untilbecoming optimaljust in somecountries by 2030.Governance is optimalacross the region by2030Policies fordevelopmentPolicies are noteven across LAC,but show a cleartrend to becominguniformWidely divergentpolicies acrossLAC at thebeginning, butthey become moreuniform by 2030,because of thepressure exertedby countriesendowed with(comparatively)abundantresourcesWidely divergentpolicies acrossLAC, but generallyaddressingbiosecurity issues.Scarce resourcesare allocated tosocial policiesPolicies areimproved and mademore consistentacross LAC, withemphasis on thedevelopmentof traditionalknowledge and theconservation of theenvironment andbiodiversityPolicies are improvedand made moreconsistent acrossLAC, with focuseducation, traditionalknowledge and theenvironment andbiodiversityManagement ofregulations andstandardsIt vastly improvesthroughout theregionThere is animprovementin managementbecause countriesendowed with(comparatively)abundantresources pressfor it, progress isslowScarce publicand privateinvestments ineducationIt does notsubstantiallychange, becauseof lack ofconsistencyacross LACcountriesIt fastly improvesthroughout, but nota the same paceacross the regionIt vastly improvesthroughout the region.Quality standards andcertification processesbecome universalacross the regionEducation ofproductivesystem-actorsStrong publicand privateinvestments ineducationScarceinvestments ineducation at thebeginning, butsocial demand foreducation makesthe private sectorto get involved intoits improvementby 2030Scarce investmentsin education atthe beginning;however, resourcesare substantiallyincreased by 2030There is aremarkable increasein investments,particularly in privateeducation. This evenreaches the mostvulnerable populationSocial monitoringof innovationIn general, publicin LAC has trust inthe outcomes ofinnovationThere is somepublic distrustof innovation,because itsstewardship is inthe hands of socialelitesThe publicsector leads ininnovation but asit progressivelybecomes underfunded, the spacethus relinquishedis taken up by theprivate sectorThe social control ofinnovation becomesthe norm, and thefocus of researchis mostly aimed tosolve environmentalproblems.There is a growingpublic trust onthe outcomes ofinnovationcontinued


134 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 3-4. continued.VariablesGlobalOrchestrationOrder fromStrengthLife as it is Adapting Mosaic TechnoGardenAdvances inknowledgeLarge investmentsin R+D are made,particularly inthe richer LACcountriesThere is a growinggap in R+Dactivities betweenthe richer and thepoorer countries.LAC imports R+DproductsRich LACcountriesmakelarge investmentsin R+D, whichmakes itsdevelopment veryuneven across theregion. However,the regionbecomes a leaderin some somefields of R+DSlow advances.There is not muchincorporationof it to formalknowledgeInvestments in R+Dare mostly directedto environmentalsustainabilityand biodiversityconservationR+D advances atgreat strides, butclose to 2030 thereis a growing socialconcern for theenvironmental impactsof many engineeredproduction systemsTraditional/indigenousknowledgeThere are fewadvances,because thisknowledge is notvalued as suchAlmost nil; it isnot highly ratedby governments,because they arewary of itThere is a growingacknowledgement ofthe epistemologicalvalue traditional/indigenousknowledge andthe consequentfurtherance of itsapplicationFor all social groups,the environmentalsustainabilityof productionsystems, ecolabelingof foods,and mitigationand adaptation toclimate changeThere is a growingacknowledgement ofthe epistemologicalvalue traditional/indigenous knowledgeand the consequentfurtherance of itsapplicationFocus ofresearchImprovement ofthe competitivityof agriculturalproducts andthe productionof biomass formaking biofuels.The needs ofindigenouscommunitiesand subsistencefarmers are nottaken into accountSome countriesin LAC strive tokeep their capacityfor integratingknowledge intonew technologiesFoodinnocuousness(biosecurity)and economicefficiency ofagriculturalproductionAt the beginning, itis food productionand its economicefficiency. At theend (2030) thefocus is on themost dynamicfood productionchains, particularlyin the largercountries in LACFor all social groups,the competitivityand environmentalsustainability ofproduction systems,their adaptationto climate changeand the valuation ofenvironmental andecosystem services,and biodiversity.Incorporationof formalknowledgeThe capacityto integrateknowledge israther restricted,and shows a largevariability acrosscountries becauseit dependson nationalcircumstancesThe capacityto integrateknowledge isconstrained bymeager resources,and shows a largevariability acrosscountries becauseit dependson nationalcircumstancesIt is conditioned tothe putative effectsof the incorporatedknowledge on theenvironment andbiodiversityVery intense acrossthe regionIncorporationof traditional/indigenousknowledgeJust isolatedinitiatives in thisregardNone Fortuitous Growing Growing


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 135Table 3-4. continued.VariablesGlobalOrchestrationOrder fromStrengthLife as it is Adapting Mosaic TechnoGardenAvailability ofresources forR+DThey are irregularlydistributed acrossthe region. A largepart of resourcesare obtainedfrom internationalsourcesTheir amountis substantiallyreduced becauseof decreasingnationalinvestmentsin R+D, whichare partlycompensatedby internationalsourcesTheir amountis substantiallyreduced becauseof decreasingnationalinvestmentsin R+D, butdiffering amongcountries becauseof nationalcircumstances.Qualified peopleleave the R+Dsystem.They aresubstantiallyincreased, butnot enough.They are mostlychannelled to R+Don environmentalsustainability andbiodiversityThere are enoughacross the wholeregionManagement ofR+DIt becomes morecomplex and alsobetter appreciatedby societyThere is a lossin managementcapacityThere is a lossin managementcapacityIt is muchappreciated bysocietyIt is much appreciatedby societySocialinvolvement inthe managementof R+DGrowingparticipationScarceparticipationScarceparticipationLarge and veryactive participationGrowing participationPerformance ofR+D systemsSystems areeffective andfocalized on themarketSystems areefficient but notrelevant becauseprotectionismimpairsinternational tradeSystems areeffective andfocalized on themarketSystems are notvery efficient, butthey are effectivein regard to theenvironment andbiodiversitySystems are highlyeffective and efficient:they are focalized onthe environment andbiodiversityRelative spacesof public andprivate R+DPublic-privatealliances are madewith transnationalcorporations onstrictly commercialtermsTransnationalcorporationsperform R+Dactivities forprofit. Public R+Dprovides inputfor private R+Dactivities and forsatisfying socialneedsTransnationalcorporationsperform R+Dactivities forprofit. Public R+Dprovides inputfor private R+Dactivities and forsatisfying socialneedsPublic R+Dinstitutions prevailover private R+D,but they collaboratewith each other. R+Dis strongly focusedon environmentalsustainabilityand biodiversityconservationPublic R+D institutionseither collaboratethrough commercialalliances or competewith each other.Propertechnologiesfor agriculturalactivitiesTechnologiesare aimed tointensifiedagriculture: theyare not suitablefor vulnerableproductivesystemsTechnologiesare aimed to theproduction of fewcommon products.When specifictechnologies areneeded, they areimportedTechnologiesare aimed to theproduction of fewcommon products.When specifictechnologies areneeded, they areimportedTechnologies areaimed to satisfyingthe demands fromproductive systemsand are closelyadapted to localconditionsSocial participationin technologydevelopment resultsin products very muchadapted to user’sneedsIncorporationof knowledgeto productivesystemsIs high; it issubstantiatedthrough inputs andpracticesIt is limited; it issubstantiatedthroughcommercialenterprisesIt is limited; it issubstantiatedthroughcommercialenterprisesIt is high andparticularly focusedon environmentalprotection and thedevelopment of localinnovationsIt is high, unevenlydistributed acrossthe region and mostlycommercially orientedcontinued


136 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportTable 3-4. continued.VariablesGlobalOrchestrationOrder fromStrengthLife as it is Adapting Mosaic TechnoGardenAttended marketsLarge productivesystems servedomestic andforeign markets.Most of thesmall productivesystems remainisolated fromthose markets,except when theycan gain nichemarketsComplete; itis real throughproduction centersor cooperativesThese arerestricted. Exportsare generallyrestricted anda few countriesserve nichemarkets. Thedomestic market islittle developedThese arerestricted. Exportsare generallyrestricted anda few countriesserve nichemarkets. Thedomestic market iswell developedMostly localmarkets. Theseare served withsustainablyproduced productsof good nutritionalvalueBoth domestic andforeign markets, withsustainably producedproducts of goodnutritional valueSocialorganizationof vulnerableproductionsystemsRestricted; itis replaced byassistentialismRestricted. Itis replaced byassistentialism, butits materializationis encouragedby NGOsconcerned withthe environment,biodiversityand traditional/indigenousknowledgeLarge in richcountries;resources areeasily accessedin poor countries.There is somedegradation ofnatural resources,and free access toknowledgeComplete andstrongly localist, butrestricted by scarcityof resourcesIt is connected toproduction centersand aimed to productqualificationAvailability ofresources foragricultureSufficient. Naturalresources areeasily got at;knowledge isincreasinglyavailableLarge in richcountries;resources areeasily accessedin poor countries.There is somedegradation ofnatural resources,and a restrictedaccess toknowledgeThe use of naturalresources isconstrained byenvironmentalconcerns. There arescarce economicresources. Thereis free access toavailable resourcesand knowledgeThe use of naturalresources isconstrained byenvironmentalconcerns. There areample economicresources, and freeaccess to availableresources andknowledgePerformanceof agriculturalproductivesystemsGreater efficiencyand productionquality in big firms.Performance ishighly variableamong smallsystems: efficiencyand productionquality are low,and the mostvulnerableemigrateBetter efficiencyand productionquality in big firms.Performance ishighly variableamong smallsystems: efficiencyand productionquality are low,and the mostvulnerableemigrateBetter efficiencyand productionquality in big firms.Performance ishighly variableamong smallsystems: efficiencyand productionquality are low,and the mostvulnerableemigrate Nichesof agro-ecologicalproduction stayputIncreases, butunevenly acrossLACProductiveprocesses andtheir productsare more soundand friendly withthe environment.Problems emergein regard to theproduction ofenough quantities offood.Large efficiency andproduction qualityis attained in allproductive systemsbecause they are fullyintegrated as supplychainsRent inequality inagricultureIncreases, butunevenly acrossLACIncreases becausemost investmentsare made bytransnational firmsand those are notof a social kindUnevenly decreases;deracination offarmers increasesinequalityDecreases across LAC


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 137Table 3-4. continued.VariablesGlobalOrchestrationOrder fromStrengthLife as it is Adapting Mosaic TechnoGardenSocial inequalityHigh. Most ofthe populationdoes not haveample access toeducation, healthand home. Thereis a statisticalreduction ininequality broughtabout by internalmigration fromrural to urbanareasHigh. Most ofthe populationdoes not haveample access toeducation, healthand home.High. Most ofthe populationdoes not haveample access toeducation, healthand home.SmallGenerally small, butlarge variability acrossLACFood securityUneven acrossLAC, particularlyin countries withfew resourcesfor ensuring foodqualityLowFood offer isinsufficient; lowquality foodsFood offer isinsufficient; lowquality foodsHigh but food qualityis sub-standardHigh food security andfood qualityEnvironmentalsustainabilityLow; particularlyin the poorercountries in LACLow High and stable High, but unstableSource: Authors’ elaboration.countries focus on apiculture and development of other speciesof livestock, medicinal plants, and cosmetics.The technologies generated by the public and privateR&D systems are oriented more towards intensive agriculture,large and medium-sized agricultural producersand agroindustry. A few of these technologies incorporateaspects related to environmental protection and conservation,mainly in countries such as Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, andMexico, with a high degree of biodiversity and threats toit or in countries that have semiarid or arid regions. Thetechnologies generated do not take into account the mostvulnerable social groups, such as small-scale producers, subsistencefarmers or indigenous communities.3.4.1.1.3 Agricultural production systemsConditions are favorable to incorporate more know-howin agriculture, due to greater investments in education, theavailability of resources for agricultural activities, and theopenness of borders and markets, as well as support bycompanies themselves. Know-how is basically incorporatedin two ways: one is by promoting new inputs to improveproductivity; and the other is by implementing and verifyinga series of practices designed to ensure compliance withquality standards.The large production systems supply the external marketwith commodities, but they also provide differentiatedproducts to a broad internal LAC market. A considerableproportion of small-scale producers become part of majorproduction chains, such as the poultry chain, which is efficientlycoordinated, even though it is highly fragmented.Other small-scale producers manage to participate in marketopenings in their own country or in wealthier countries.A vast majority of vulnerable producers and subsistencefarmers, however, remain isolated.The opening of markets and borders creates a goodclimate for investment in agriculture. Access to natural resources,such as water and soil, is not a problem except forthe most vulnerable production systems. Access to knowledgeincreases.Large agricultural corporations that apply modernproduction and management methods operate with greatefficiency and have high-quality products and processes.Consequently, they are more competitive on markets. Smallscaleproducers that participate in major chains are alsogenerally successful. The ones that participate more independentlyin market openings in some cases do not performwell. Efficiency is critical for them.Nevertheless, a good part of the small production unitsleave the business, because they cannot meet quality requirements,such as traceability, safety, etc., imposed by marketingand consumer systems, due to the fact that technologiesadapted to their conditions are relatively unavailable and tothe effects of climate change, which, although incipient, arenot depreciable.3.4.1.1.4 Result of interaction between the systemsNational and transnational companies consolidate theircontrol over the supply chains and markets served. Some of


138 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportthe production units, with better ecological and economicconditions, manage to become organized within these chainsand markets and thus improve their profitability.For some countries, however, food imports competewith local food production systems, with a catastrophic effecton small- and medium-sized production units. Displacedproducers abandon agricultural activity and shift to providingsmall, nonspecialized services, either in the same ruralareas or in nearby urban settlements. All of this exacerbatesinequality in agricultural income, but this varies among thedifferent LAC countries.By the end of the period, there is still a considerabledegree of social inequality, which is seen in differences inaccess to employment, food security, education, and healthon the part of various social groups, such as large agriculturalproducers, small family producers, agricultural wageearners,and subsistence farmers. For some of the vulnerablegroups at the start of the period—small family producersand wage-earners—the unequal access is considerably reduced.This result is a continuation of a trend initiated in thelast decade of the 20th century, which was also strengthenedby the more widespread prosperity of that period. The situationis also heterogeneous in the case of LAC countries. In asmall number of countries, thanks to public policies and tothe management capacity of food regulations and standards,the urban poor also regularly have access to adequate quantitiesof healthy food.For countries highly dependent on food imports andwith a more reduced per capita income, the prices of theseproducts increase, creating urban food security problems.In the less developed countries in the region where economicefficiency is low, environmental sustainability is nota concern for production systems, except in some highly local,traditional, or indigenous production systems. Deforestation,intensive use of fertilizers and herbicides, expansionof arable land into natural ecosystems, and the consequentloss of biodiversity and neglect of soil fertility and waterquality continue. In a few countries there are plans to guaranteegreater productivity with environmentally friendlytechnologies.3.4.1.2 2016-20303.4.1.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionTrade barriers are still absent, with the exception of healthrelatedones. The trend towards intense competition amongcountries increases during this period. The race to developnew agricultural products incorporating a high degree oftechnology is stepped up, so that commodities lose the relativeimportance they had in world trade. The vast majorityof markets consume products with little value added, whichare frequently synthetically created in laboratories or generatedby microorganisms. In many cases, commodities areonly the raw material used to obtain these products. Somecommodities are the principal sustenance of a few LACcommunities, which preserve their identity and rituals.In addition to concerns over quality and safety of foodsprevalent in the previous period, now consumers—virtuallywithout exception, since the entire world population is morehighly educated than at the beginning of the century—demandinformation on genetic manipulation and nanotechnologicalmethods incorporated in the foods. Regulationson these matters and procedures for evaluation of foodsor agricultural-based nonfood products begin to be implementedby governments.Epidemics and epizooties increase in frequency and severity,as a result of the accumulated effects of the mismanagementof ecosystems, the introduction of new pests, thelack of action to adapt and mitigate the phenomena associatedwith climate change, and drastic changes in the patternof land use and technology. The quality of export productsis strictly monitored, as is that of foods sold in internalmarkets.Climate change remains a concern, but shows signs ofincreasing, in temperature and in the frequency of extremeevents. In LAC there is already a greater capacity to implementadaptation and mitigation measures, and this capacitygrows throughout the period.Transnational companies have increased power overtechnological development. Traditional innovation policesbecome inadequate, since the state is no longer the mainpromoter of R&D activities. Moreover, problems emergerelated to social development (such as job losses as a resultof constant technological modernization), the environment,and excessive control over the life of the common citizenby these companies, which require governments to makeinstitutional innovations. The situation of global climatechange also requires new and vigorous policies designed toprotect the environment and modify agricultural productionsystems.The governments of the most developed countries inthe region allocate a large part of their fiscal resources toimplementing an unemployment insurance system. Thesegovernments also offer incentives to corporations not to layoff their employees as a result of technological changes, butto retrain them instead to operate the new technologies. In2025, governments establish a goal for gradual reduction ofthe work week within the next ten years.Most of the countries in the region are in an acceptablesituation from the standpoint of the their food quality standardsand regulations and their enforcement. This is reflectedin the reasonable efficiency of production systems, products,and services to meet the needs of their users. However, thesystems are not necessarily environmentally sustainable, norare the products, subproducts, and wastes in general, andthis has a negative impact on the environment.In general, stability and consistency among social, environmental,and foreign trade policies progress considerablyfor most LAC countries during this period, and variouspolicies initiated in the course of the previous period alsoimprove.Education of stakeholders in production systems underthe responsibility of the public education system ensures acritical mass of educated persons capable of meeting theobjectives of international competition. Strategic alliancesbetween both national and international companies andacademic centers of excellence help improve the quality ofpublic education at all levels.The more developed countries make major advances inbio- and nanotechnology. In biotechnology, there is a muchbetter understanding of the systemic impacts of the manipu-


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 139lation of genes in the second half of the period. This allowsfor greater efficiency in the use of these techniques and fora reduction in the negative effects on the environment. Biotechnologygoes back to the technological base of geneticimprovement processes, integrated into conventional processes.Nanotechnology for its part realizes its first successeswith intelligent systems for monitoring crops and livestock,by using nano-electronic sensors based on DNA and othermolecules. There is also integration of the two disciplinesfor development of environmental remediation systems,although these technologies do not develop fully. Biotechnologyis also used successfully to develop plant biomassadapted to the needs of agroindustry, producers, and consumers.Moreover, other alternative forms of energy (wind,photovoltaic, hydrogen, etc.) begin to arrive on the markets.Some of them, which are more economical than biofuels,threaten to displace them from the market. These advancesare made most often by the large transnational companiesthat export know-how to the less developed countries.3.4.1.2.2 AKST systemsThe division of labor between the public and private R&Dsectors is expanded in the few countries that still have publicresearch institutes. Public institutes focus primarily on aresearch agenda for the poor segments of rural producersand consumers.For private transnationals that dominate R&D, researchis centered primarily on all those technologies mostdirectly geared to immediate application. These companiesalso maintain a portfolio of basic science projects orientedto new applications of biotechnology, nanotechnology,and their integration. Profitable applications based onknowledge generated by these initiatives are obtained withincreasing speed, or in other words, the time between generatingbasic knowledge and its technological application isshortened.Public AKST organizations still active in LAC rely increasinglyon more basic knowledge generated by transnationals.In LAC, transnational companies also play the mostimportant role in AKST. For this reason, there is no problemin incorporating advances in formal knowledge; actually,the process of obtaining advances in knowledge already hasthe incorporation of those advances built in, because thesecompanies use the scientific skills of persons throughout theworld.The large companies do not save resources for AKSTactivities, because they need to continuously renew all theavailable technologies for the agricultural sector so that theywill be in a better position to displace their competitors onthe technology market.Governments continue to perform the function of suppliersof financial resources for development of technologiesfor the poor. Transnationals also provide financing forthis purpose, to enhance their corporate mage in publicopinion.There are practically no more spaces—except for marginalones—for technological development by public organizations,which concentrate on basic and applied research.The public research that is done is directed to vulnerable socialgroups and “social” farm products such as rice, yucca,and beans.R&D is highly successful in developing products thatconsumers throughout the world are eager to buy. Theseproducts are extremely varied, to satisfy all tastes. Consequentlythey form a large mass of constantly changing products,virtually on a daily basis.The companies also develop technology for all the componentsof production chains, from producers of inputs upto distributors of processed products. Although these productsare developed and produced efficiently, their effectivenessis more problematical, because markets and consumersconstantly want consumer products to have new attributes.In other words, the effectiveness of a product is ephemeral.The technologies developed are adapted to large companiesthat compete on markets for agriculture-based products(but not necessarily agricultural products in the traditionalsense of the term). For traditional agricultural productionsystems, some low-intensity technologies are also developed;these technologies take into account their possible environmentalimpact and also serve to mitigate climate change orto adapt to it, or to do both.3.4.1.2.3 Agricultural production systemsThe process of incorporating knowledge into agriculture,initiated during the previous period, thus continues. Thisprocess occurs by incorporating new inputs into productionsystems or because of the need to comply with regulationsor meet demands for quality. Its development is promotedby more favorable conditions for investment in education,greater availability of resources for agriculture, and moreopen markets and borders.In many LAC countries, farm production is directed toexternal markets, especially those made up of countries withgreater purchasing power and vigorous domestic markets.A reasonable proportion of small agricultural producersmanages to gain entry to markets, with the result that theirimproved education is reflected in improved production systemsand competitive capacity. Many others, however, thatdo not achieve this comparative advantage of improved educationare displaced from their rural work to the cities.The countries in the region generally have adequate resourcesconsistent with their size, economy, and intellectualand technological capacity. Transnationals are monopoliesthat govern the use of natural resources, such as water andfertile soils, for agricultural activity.The large agriculture-based corporations experiencetrade competition similarly to transnationals that dominatethe creation of agricultural technology, because they constantlyneed to produce new innovative products to satisfytheir markets. The products are developed on an agriculturalbasis, but they have strong components of bio- andnanotechnology. They include, by way of example, fibercrops with thermodynamic properties, monitored by nanosystems,plants that synthesize HIV innoculations and microorganismsthat remedy environmental contamination.These corporations use as inputs commodities produced onhuge tracts of land with highly mechanized and automatedtechniques.The large corporations frequently integrate all the processesfor agricultural production and production of inputs,and other times they outsource them. They build highlycompetitive, more regionalized production chains that are


140 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportdedicated to the integral production of specialized, differentiatedproducts, to meet social demands for more culturaldiversity and preservation of the identity of peoples. Theperformance of these corporations, in terms of efficiencyand effectiveness, is very high, because increased trade competitionrequires them to make large investments to mitigatethe risk of losing markets.3.4.1.2.4 Results of interaction among the systemsThe openness of markets and borders creates a climate forinvestment in agriculture. National and transnational companiesconsolidate their control over production chainsand the markets they serve. More production units manageto operate in this sphere, thereby improving their income.Nonfood imports, the monopoly over natural resources,and an intensification of the effects of climate change drivesmall farmers out of the circuit. These factors all exacerbateincome inequality. More resources are invested in education,however, which are used to a great extent to retrain alarge part of the rural population of displaced producers asskilled workers for industry. Partly as a result of these policies,the proportion of poor in the Latin American populationis considerably reduced.In this situation of growth, various social groups havegreater access to education, health, and food security, althoughmajor differences persist among LAC countries interms of social and economic development. Access to jobsis still difficult for less skilled workers. Government intervenesto provide food, housing, and transportation for theunemployed. In societies in general, the value assigned towork changes, due to the development of a market gearedto recreation and leisure activities.There is a sharp drop in urban food security problemsin LAC, even in countries with a lower per capita incomethat rely on food imports. There is virtually no urban foodsecurity problem in LAC, or in other words food is regular,accessible, and available in the cities. As for food safety, themain sources of contamination are controlled by sophisticatedhealth surveillance mechanisms.At the start of this period, the environmental sustainabilityof production systems becomes a priority for societies,and especially in the countries most vulnerable toenvironmental disasters related to climate change. In additionto threats to sustainability related to poor managementof agricultural systems, they are also threatened now by theconsequences of climate change. During this period, the environmentalsustainability of agriculture is also affected byhighly intensive competition among markets that demandmore and more new products derived from exploitation ofnatural resources. The intensive agricultural practices reducethe elasticity of the response of many ecosystems, andlead to various problems in maintaining the efficiency ofagricultural production systems over the long run.3.4.2 Order from Strength3.4.2.1 2007-20153.4.2.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionInternational trade in agricultural products in the region isregulated by tariff and nontariff barriers. The latter ones aredesigned to reduce the risk of bioterrorism. The possibilityof evolving towards a free trade system is remote.The less developed countries have increasingly less capacityto invest in agricultural innovation. As a result, theyare unable to compete on markets for differentiated agriculturalproducts, and the best that they can do is to continueexporting commodities, in more and more difficult circumstancesbecause of the barriers imposed.Consumers in the more developed countries both withinand outside the region are increasingly demanding in termsof quality, safety, functional properties, and environmentallyfriendly production methods for food and nonfoodproducts. It is more and more difficult for less developedcountries to satisfy these demands, but some of them servespecial, high-value markets, such as markets for productsfrom the jungles of the Amazon, Chaco Paraguayo, or theBolivian salt desert, or from Patagonia—albeit on a limitedscale. The domestic LAC markets are primarily made up oflow-income consumers, who demand low-priced food.Despite the massive use of pesticides throughout theregion, the frequency, severity, and presence of new pestsand diseases continue, and the situation in some countries isworsened by changes in land use patterns, climate changes,and the lack of remedial action.The temperature and frequency of extreme climateevents persist. Most countries in the region do not perceivethe threat of climate change, and hence the need to directagricultural R&D to that end. Social organizations thatwarn the public of the coming danger are not echoed bygovernment authorities. There is also generally a low capacityto mitigate or adapt to climate change in most countries,because most of these countries give no priority to action inthis area.At the outset of the period, some LAC countries adopthighly diverse measures for technological innovation, socialdevelopment, environmental protection and biosafety. Bythe end of the period, as a result of the relationship withdeveloped countries outside the region and their dependenceon external resources, most of the LAC countriesadopt more coherent biosecurity policies based on protocolsimported from more developed countries, the implementationof which is completely subsidized by these developedcountries. However, as a rule, these policies are not seen asstable in most countries, and in highly import-dependentcountries, this stability is very much weakened.Management of these policies is also precarious, butdue to the developed countries’ concern over bioterrorism,from midway through the period onwards, a slow transitiontowards establishing regulations and quality standards andenforcing compliance with them begins, to reduce the risk ofterrorist acts related to the food supply or agricultural products.Early in the period governments, and by the end ofthe period transnationals, take responsibility for managinghealth standards and antiterrorist measures. Transnationalcorporations are only capable of exercising this control inthe major cities.Public education does not lead to good results, especiallyin the less developed countries. Similarly, private educationoften offers defective, poor-quality courses and programs.In more developed countries, there is a major socialconcern that science should provide ways to avoid any bi-


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 141ological, physical, or chemical threat from less developedcountries. The developed countries invest large amounts ofprivate and public funds to develop new technologies (nanotechnologyand biotechnology) to reduce this threat. In mostof the less developed countries of LAC, due to the fact thatmany basic needs are not met and education levels are generallylow, development of science is limited. These countriesas a rule do not place value in traditional knowledge asa source of agricultural innovation.3.4.2.1.2 AKST systemsIn the few LAC countries that have the capacity for technologicalinnovation, efforts and resources are channeled tobiosafety. The larger countries, many of which are membersof economic blocs, establish health barriers to food imports,but without repercussions on the focus of AKST. In viewof the scarcity of economic resources in the region, R&Dis mostly directed to ensuring food supplies and economicefficiency. The sustainability of products and processes andtheir environmental impact are not given priority by thepublic or private sector.The capacity of the different LAC countries to incorporateadvances in formal knowledge into agriculture varies.Some, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, even applytheir advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology to agribusiness,while others are limited to adapting or importingtechnology. The few countries with the capacity to generatetechnologies do not incorporate traditional knowledge.There is also a loss of personnel and management capacityin public R&D. Personnel migrates to other jobs eitherabroad or with transnationals. Public R&D institutionshave difficulties in establishing policy lines, defining priorities,and especially coordinating the whole research effort.By the end of this period, there is a wide gap between thescientific and technological capacity of the LAC countriesand that of the developed countries such as Japan, Germany,and the United States. Some countries in the regionbegin to import technology from the developed countries,to meet needs in some areas regarded as strategic. Becauseof a shortage of financial resources, most governments inthe region reduce public investment in education, and in scienceand technology. There are financial resources to use forinternational support in solving problems, mainly relatedto biological security. The protocols, patents, and genesgenerated in these projects are the property of the donororganizations.Throughout LAC, public R&D institutions give wayto transnational companies. In some countries, they stillperform the function of generating knowledge and technologyin areas relevant to production, that private researchinstitutions are not interested in. For instance, in the geneticimprovement of corn, they develop pre-technological products,i.e., intermediate products in the crop developmentprocess, as an input for processing the final technologicalproducts (Castro et al, 2006). Public AKST organizationsalso take on the basic research that the private sector is notinterested in doing.Due to these many limitations, public R&D institutionsare unable to develop technological products adapted tothe demands of their customers and users, whether privatetransnational or national organizations. The most vulnerablesocial groups are not given any consideration at all ingenerating technologies.3.4.2.1.3 Agricultural production systemsThe lack of investment in education, the reduction in resourcesfor agriculture, and the lack of openness of borders andmarkets lead to a situation that discourages incorporation ofknow-how into agriculture. Fragmented knowledge on use ofinputs and machinery is incorporated on a limited scale, andonly among the partners of enterprises, for the purpose ofimproving the productivity of production systems. Exportingfirms and quality standard certification companies alsorequire implementation and verification of a series of practicesto meet market requirements, and the partners of theenterprises (medium-sized and small-scale producers) findthemselves forced to incorporate complex know-how associatedwith these product and process standards.Trade barriers limit agricultural markets for LAC countries.Few countries export commodities to countries withgreater purchasing power, because the costs of product certification,as a prevention against any biological threat, arehigh. A small number of countries and organizations has anopportunity to participate in “Latin-American” or “Amazon”markets, which also demand safety guarantees for theproducts offered. By the end of this period, a very small specializedmarket begins to open up for products of traditionalproduction systems.The internal LAC market has two segments: (1) thesegment of high-income consumers, which is constantlyshrinking in size, due to the poor economic performanceof countries, but which requires goods similar to those ofconsumers in more developed countries; and, (2) the segmentof poor consumers, which is an expanding segmentfor which the most important factor is price. A considerablenumber of countries have only the segment of poorerconsumers for its goods, and relies increasingly on imports(agricultural imports in general, but especially foodstuffs),to feed its people.External markets, the high-income market, and part ofthe poor domestic market are supplied with products fromlarge, technified production systems. The niche markets aresupplied by small production systems that nonetheless havea high degree of biosecurity technology incorporated intothem.The poorest domestic markets are supplied by productionsystems with little technology incorporated, with nolinks to production chains, and with little concern for biosecurity.This means that a large part of the people in thesecountries consumes food of poor bromatological quality.The stakeholders in the production systems are not generallyorganized into stable associations, and this leads to adiminished resource management capacity, a weak positionon agricultural markets, and poor performance by productionunits.In the more developed countries of the region, the economiclosses of the more vulnerable production systems areoffset by aid policies or by an insurance mechanism. As arule, however, the most vulnerable systems—which the largeagricultural corporations of some countries are not partof—do not have financial resources to protect themselvesfrom risks related to epidemics or the impact of climate


142 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportchange, for instance. The large transnational companies thatdo their own R&D operate at high levels of efficiency andeffectiveness. In other words, they produce with a high costbenefitratio, as demanded by their consumer markets, whilefamily production systems are pushed towards increasinglyless profitable agriculture.3.4.2.1.4 Results of interaction among the systemsIncome inequality rises, as a result of domination of agribusinessinvestment in LAC by the large transnational companies,and also because of the reduction of public investmentin education, science, technology, and rural development.Only a small group of producers with better ecological andeconomic conditions materializes partnerships with thesecompanies, while the vast majority of small productionunits are left out of the playing field.There is a general deterioration in the capacity of countriesto guarantee the sustainability of their agricultural productionsystems—especially the most vulnerable ones—andthis is dramatically reflected in a reduction in access to jobs,housing, health, and education, and a decline in food security.Many unemployed rural workers and small bankruptlandowners move to the cities, where the generalized reductionin productive activities is also felt. Governments as arule are not able to provide social protection to a large andgrowing poor population in urban settlements. In many cities,there is an atmosphere conducive to social protest andvandalism. Insecurity increases both in cities and in the ruralareas. Along borders with more developed countries like theUnited States, and also with some Latin American countrieswith higher living standards, there is an increase in fatalitiesresulting from thwarted attempts to enter a world in whichthere are “greater opportunities”.As for urban food security, the supply of food is inadequateand a fraction of it has a high contamination risk.The status of climate change tends to be critical, becausetemperatures are rising, as is the frequency of extreme climaticphenomena. The primary cause of this situation hasto do with the specific energy matrix of the more developedcountries and also with massive imports of raw materialsfrom poor countries, reflected in the growing explorationof their natural systems and in the exposure of their nativeforests. Environmental sustainability and adaptation toclimate change are not concerns of governments, except inthe more vulnerable countries, which are usually the lessdeveloped ones.3.4.2.2 2016-20303.4.2.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionBoth the countries of the region and those outside LAC continueto use all types of barriers to agricultural trade, encounterdifficulties in making their national production systemscompetitive, and face ongoing threats of bioterrorism.The LAC countries with a greater presence on agriculturalmarkets have compulsory certification systems, exert strictcontrol over the production process, and impose patterns oftechnology to manage epidemics and to guarantee the qualityand safety of foods.The markets are increasingly more sharply divided,with developed countries outside LAC dominant in tradecompetition and on world markets. Very few LAC countriesare able to supply commodities to external markets. The lessdeveloped countries and the poorest ones have little accessto these markets, so most of them turn to their domesticmarkets. These markets have a high percentage of lowincomeconsumers, who are more interested in low pricesthan in food quality.Management of agricultural pests and diseases reliesmainly on the use of expensive, specialized external servicesand inputs. There is a reduced capacity in most LAC countriesto implement preventive health measures or measuresto contain diseases, and to adapt to and mitigate climatechange. For these reasons, epidemics in the region increase.In LAC there are even greater rise in temperatures thanin the preceding period, and also more frequent and intensiveextreme climate events. Their strong impact on the regionis largely responsible for the highly reduced capacity toadapt to and mitigate climate change.The situation of governance is highly varied in the region.In many countries, the general situation of survival isaggravated by corrupt politicians who have joined forceswith groups that engage in illegal activities, and that frequentlyoften offer one of the few opportunities for survivalfor many urban dwellers. In a few countries, there are governmentsthat endeavor to follow consistent, sustainablepolicies, but these efforts are hampered by the shortage ofeconomic resources. This is seen in the inability to interveneproactively to cope with various types of problems, such associal disaggregation, epidemics, natural disasters, and thelike.With resources becoming increasingly more scarce, mostcountries in the region experience enormous and mountingdifficulties in ensuring social order and productive capacityand in guaranteeing the supply of essential services, suchas health, unemployment insurance, education, housingcredits, and the like. Laws on environmental protection,trade security, the protection of knowledge, and biosecurity,among others, remain unenforceable. The more developedcountries feel threatened by this state of affairs, and createfunds to alleviate the situation in the countries sufferingmost, by sending professionals, products (such as pharmaceuticals)and equipment to help these countries. This aid,which begins around 2022, ends when the period comes toa close.Due to the deterioration of both economic resourcesand governance in LAC countries, their capacity to imposeregulations and quality standards on food, which they hadduring the previous period, is diminished. Some of themmake an effort to reverse this situation, but achieve meagerresults. Assistance by developed countries to recover thatcapacity is inadequate and limited in time.The education of stakeholders of production systems inthe public system of education does not generally producegood results. Private education is usually expensive and ofmixed quality, because there are relatively few schools thatoffer a quality education.Developed countries make enormous scientific progress.In the sphere of biotechnology, there is a sharp increase inthe understanding of the systemic repercussions of gene manipulation.This leads to greater efficiency in the use of these


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 143techniques, which in developed countries is reflected in thedecrease in negative effects on the environment. Biotechnologybecomes the basis for genetic improvement projects; theuse of conventional improvement systems moves to secondplace. Nanotechnology in turn is used successfully for thefirst time in intelligent systems for monitoring crops andlivestock and food processing systems. These systems relyon the use of electronic nano-sensors based on the characterizationof DNA, which are especially designed to detectthreats to biosafety or biosecurity in raw materials or processedfoods.Nanotechnology is also used to develop systems fortracing origin and preservation of identity. These systemsare sold to poor countries that want to export their raw materialsto rich countries and so must comply with the identitypreservation requirements for exports. This technologyis also used to generate strict control protocols for biosecurityand biosafety in international transactions.Biotechnology is also used to produce plant biomassadapted to the needs of agroindustry, producers, and consumersin LAC countries in a better economic situation.Moreover, other sources of energy cheaper than biofuels beginto be developed and threaten to take over their marketshare. These advances are realized in most cases by largetransnationals that export their know-how to less developedcountries.3.4.2.2.2 AKST systemsScientific activity, virtually abandoned in LAC countries, isleft on its own. In many countries the scarce resources of thepeople encourage the formation of markets for traditionalproducts. For instance, expensive medicines manufacturedby international laboratories are replaced by active principalsobtained directly from plant biodiversity. However,since there is no interaction between formal and traditionalknowledge, the systematization of the latter and its incorporationin formal systems are reduced. The activity of generatingknow-how and technology is left to the developedcountries outside LAC.The capacity to incorporate advances in formal knowledgeis in the hands of large transnational corporations,because there are actually no public or private research institutionsor universities that perform this work effectively.At the outset of the period there is a fleeting attempt toincorporate traditional know-how into efforts to generateagricultural products.R&D resources come from major transnational corporations,which tend to focus on their short-term interestsand the needs of markets outside the region. There are virtuallyno other sources of funds to sustain sizeable investmentsin R&D. The focus of the large corporations is on thecompetitiveness of commodities and biosecurity protocols.These are produced with technologies generated in othercountries, which are directly applied or adapted to the conditionsof LAC and exported to wealthier countries outsidethe region.Almost all the R&D produced by large corporations isdirected to improving successful products, such as transgenicvarieties, or to testing new products, to serve external andinternal markets. For the R&D activities of these corporations,the countries in the region have a comparative advantagein that they can explore the environment without facingprotests from environmentalist organizations, taxes are low,and there are generally few restrictions to such exploration.Locally important food crops, such as beans and yucca, arenot the subjects of the R&D done by these corporations.However, the technologies generated by the corporationsare not the best suited to the diverse needs of the countriesof the region, either in terms of sustainable development, ortheir culture or production conditions.3.4.2.2.3 Agricultural production systemsThe slow economic growth of the region makes it muchmore difficult to incorporate know-how into agriculture,and especially as required for the most vulnerable productionsystems. Moreover, the large corporations no longeroperate as organizations dedicated to a broad sector of activity,such as production of inputs, for example, but insteadthey operate as large, well-coordinated production chains,ranging from production to sale of these same inputs, includingtechnology, and including the production and saleof agricultural products. Know-how is automatically incorporatedinto these chains as part of the whole process.Production systems that do not participate in thesechains do not have an adequate supply of technology tosolve the problems of agricultural pests and diseases or toadapt to higher temperatures, nor do they have the resourcesto incorporate innovations when there are a few available.The vast majority of LAC countries lose a great deal oftheir competitive capacity on external markets, due to thefollowing factors:• The rich countries become increasingly closed to guaranteethe best markets to their own agricultural producers;• The rapid change in the technological base of economicdevelopment, increasingly more dependent on expensivetechnologies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology,information sciences, geomantics, and on theirincorporation, which are not affordable for all countriesof the region;• The creation of new products with these technologiesincorporated into them, that are not dependent on theuse of commodities—the principal exports of LAC,which have experienced a sharp drop in internationalprices;• The limited capacity of the region to maintain agriculturefree of pollutants, diseases and pests.Few LAC countries, especially the largest ones, sell their agriculturalproduction on external markets. In all the LACcountries, the domestic market is an important target foragriculture. For most of the countries, that market is virtuallythe only market on which the large corporations participateas chains. Small-scale vulnerable producers supply thepoor on local markets, or sustain themselves. It is increasinglymore difficult for these producers to become part ofproduction chains, due to their reduced capacity to satisfycertification and biosecurity and biosafety requirements.In view of the ongoing poverty crisis and social and productivevulnerability, the stakeholders of vulnerable productionsystems are reliant on assistance to mitigate social andnatural emergencies.


144 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportThe financial resources available for agricultural productionare channeled to economic and political power groups,and not to small-scale producers, which are generally familyor traditional and indigenous farmers. The allocation ofresources to agriculture tends to diminish during this periodthroughout the region, and especially in the poorest countries,as a result of poor governance.Medium-sized production systems, which are dependenton government support, are efficient, but unable tomeet market demand. Consequently, they frequently losemarket shares to multinational production chains, whichexport their products to the region. The performance ofthese medium-sized systems deteriorates, as they need toreduce their production costs more and more to keep theirmarket share.3.4.2.2.4 Results of interaction among the systemsBecause of a lack of proactive measures to mitigate the effectsof climate change, extensive tracts of land are increasinglyvulnerable to those effects, making investments morerisky. Agribusiness stakeholders wage an aggressive competitionto gain access to natural resources. Investments in agricultureare dominated by transnational companies, whichin many cases receive support from governments. The resultis a volatile land and water market and the consolidationof natural resources in a few hands. All of this leads to anincrease in income inequality.Public resources for education decrease, which increasesthe number of people without access to information and tocollective organizations to defend their interests. This createsconditions that exacerbate income inequality and deepen socialinequality. The income gap expands in some countriesand remains stable in others, with an eventual improvementresulting from the delivery of resources, in the form of landtitles for small farmers, for instance. In this way, an attemptis made to attenuate the heavy migration from rural areasto cities and other countries, which grew in the course of theprevious period.As a rule, for a growing number of persons, access tohealth, employment, education and food security becomesmore difficult. A segment of persons employed by the majorcorporations is created, as compared with persons whowork for national organizations, the government, or independently.The middle class loses its status, since it becomesmore impoverished. The situation of social disaggregation,violence, and insecurity worsens considerably.Although the bromatological quality of foods accessibleto the urban poor is maintained by the standards of theprevious period, the quantity of food for the poor in largeurban centers decreases, mainly for the following reasons:(1) the number of urban poor is on the rise, as a result ofthe lack of opportunities and jobs; and (2) there is a stronginternal migration from rural areas to cities. The wealthiestcountries, even in LAC, institute drastic measures to containthis migratory movement.The resilience 22 of ecosystems diminishes considerably,22Resilience is the capacity of a socio-environmental systemto absorb disruptions, deal with changes, and still essentiallymaintain the same function and structure. Resilience dependsespecially in poor countries. In these countries, natural resourcesare exploited virtually without restrictions. Thereis no capacity to adopt measures to recover degraded landor to mitigate and adapt to climate change, which is not apriority for the governments.3.4.3 Life as it is3.4.3.1 2007-20153.4.3.1.1 Context of the AKST systems and agriculturalproductionTrade barriers are used by developed countries as a mechanismto defend the competitiveness of their agriculturalproducts. Minor victories in reducing barriers by agriculturalcommodity-producing countries are offset by new socialor environmental barriers.The LAC countries already established on commoditymarkets (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,Mexico, etc.) try to gain access to more dynamic markets(United States, China, India) and the market for differentiatedproducts. However, these countries still cannot competeon markets for differentiated agricultural products, becauseof their increasingly limited capacity to invest in technologicalinnovation for agricultural production systems. Thesecountries continue to export commodities and diversify theportfolio of products by including biofuels, such as alcoholand biodiesel.Consumers in the richer countries both within and outsidethe region demand more and more quality, safety, functionalproperties, and environmentally friendly productionmethods for food and nonfood products, but they are notyet prepared to pay the cost associated with these demands.There are market openings for some differentiated products,such as products of the Amazon jungles, or the Chaco Paraguayo,or the salt desert of Bolivia, or from Patagonia. Theinternal LAC markets primarily consist of consumers withfew resources, who demand low-priced foods and of nichesfor high-income consumers, with their demand for differentiatedproducts.In most of the region, there is an increase in either thefrequency or the severity of agricultural diseases and pests,as a result of the lack of incentives to use good managementpractices in production systems and the lack of a nationalgovernmental structure with the capacity to implement regionalcooperation to prevent and mitigate the impacts ofnew epidemics and losses in biodiversity.In some parts of the region, there are huge changes inthe pattern of land use, such as large tracts of monoculturesof oleaginous crops and sugar cane for production ofbiofuels that lend themselves to the manifestation of newepidemics.The temperature is rising at the rate of 0.22°C-0.24°Cper decade, and the frequency of extreme phenomena isgrowing. There are relevant but highly variable effects onagriculture and the systems in the region, especially as a resultof the frequency with which these phenomena affecton the variability and flexibility of the system (Carpenter etal., 2005).


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 145each country, their economic consequences, and the equallyvariable capacity to mitigate and adapt to them.Countries in the region with a more developed scientificresearch structure perceive the threat of climate changeand thus the need for R&D in this area. But there are stillfinancial and management limitations in obtaining resultsapplicable to adaptation to and mitigation of the climateproblem.Some LAC countries adopt measures of technologicalinnovation, social development, environmental protectionand biosecurity, but due to political and budget limitations,achievements fall short of expectations. Changes in governmentgenerally lead to changes in management of public institutions,which frequently interrupt the continuity neededto obtain results. Either because of their own internal conviction(the case of countries more dependent on agribusiness)or because of their dependence on external resources,the countries of the region adopt more coherent biosecuritypolicies based on protocols imported from more developedcountries, which fully subsidize implementation of suchpolicies.There is a slow transition towards implementation offood quality standards and regulations, and enforcementof them. Governments are initially responsible for managementof health standards and anti-terrorism measures, buttowards the end of the period, transnational companies areas well. During this period, transnational corporations areonly interested in the most economical production chains,and this can lead to problems in the consumption of sometypes of foods produced by family farmers.The education offered by the public school system, especiallyin the poorest countries, does not produce goodresults, even when governments give it high priority. Privateeducation frequently offers defective and poor qualitycourses and teachers. There is strong social pressure to improvethe educational structure of the region.While rich countries make major investments in basicscience to develop new technologies, such as biotechnology,nanotechnology and information science, Argentina, Brazil,Chile, Colombia, and Mexico make limited investments,and the other countries very limited ones. Consequently,the region moves further away from pioneering scientificdevelopment, capable of sustaining important advances inproduction technologies for agricultural systems and agriculture,and from the development efforts needed for productdifferentiation and an improvement in the competitivecapacity of countries.Few people recognize the value of traditional knowledgein LAC. It is appreciated by NGOs that advocate environmentalsustainability and social inclusion, and alsoby a few large private companies that are interested in thisknowledge to create new products, such as pharmaceuticalsor plant-based insecticides, intensively used by agriculturalproduction systems.3.4.3.1.2 AKST systemsAs a result of scarce economic resources in LAC and thesocial problems of its population, R&D for the most partgoes to ensure the food supply and economic efficiency,with priority given to increasing productivity in agriculture.Environmental sustainability, differentiation, and productquality are not priority items in the public or private sector,but instead are issues addressed by personal initiatives inR&D organizations.The capacity to incorporate advances in formal knowledgeinto agriculture varies widely among the different LACcountries. Some, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico,even apply their limited advances in biotechnology andnanotechnology to more dynamic production chains in agribusiness.The poorer countries, with limited R&D resourcesand infrastructure, are confined to adapting or importingtechnology. The few countries with the capacity to generatetechnologies incorporate little traditional knowledge duringthis period.Public R&D organizations have problems establishinglines of action, defining priorities, and especially coordinatingthe entire research effort. There is also a loss of personneland technical and management capacity in the publicR&D system, in some cases because of the retirement ofprofessionals, and in others due to a shift to other moreremunerative jobs.As a result of limited public and private investment inresearch and the priorities set by R&D institutions, at theend of this period there is a wide gap between the scientificand technological capacity of LAC countries and that of developedcountries such as Japan, Germany, and the UnitedStates, and also among the countries in the region themselves.For some areas of application regarded as strategic,a few countries in the region begin to import technologyfrom rich countries, which leads to renewed interest in LACin renovating existing public R&D structures or creatingnew ones.The situation in the different countries in the regioncontinues to be widely disparate. Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina,traditional exporters of agricultural commodities,invest more public and private monies in R&D than theother countries. However, these regional investments continueto be proportionally lower than those of other regionsof the world, except for Africa. In certain export productionchains and in countries where they exist and where laws toprotect innovation are in force, an increase in private investmentin research is observed.Due to the scarcity of financial resources and the competitionfor them with other areas such as health and security,most governments of the region reduce public investment inscience, technology, and education. There are financial resourcesto use for international support in solving problemsrelated primarily to environmental sustainability, social inclusion,and biosecurity.In LAC countries without relatively institutionalizedpublic AKST structures, there are technology transfer andadaptive research programs in operation. In countries withmore institutionalized public AKST structures, competitionover work spaces is triggered between the public and privatesectors, principally in relation to generation of technologyto make production chains more dynamic. This competitionbetween public and private institutions is driven by the economicreturn on AKST investment, as a result of knowledgeprotection laws.In commodity-exporting countries in the region, thetechnologies generated by public and private AKST systemsare oriented more toward intensive agriculture for export,


146 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportlarge- and medium-sized agricultural producers, agroindustry,and input suppliers.As a result of strong pressure by international and nationalpublic opinion, in countries with fragile, threatenedecosystems, such as the Amazon, or with semiarid or aridzones, as found in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico, researchprograms include aspects related to protection andconservation of the environment. The technologies generatedare therefore adapted to these conditions, but fewtake into consideration the most vulnerable social groups,including peasants, subsistence farmers, or indigenouscommunities.3.4.3.1.3 Agricultural production systemsThe limited openness of borders and markets associatedwith social control of certain technologies, such as transgenictechnology, creates a situation that works against incorporatingknowledge into certain agricultural activities. Agriculturalenterprises increasingly incorporate fragmented knowledgeon use of inputs and machinery to improve the efficiency ofproduction systems, generally by reducing costs.Export and product origin and quality certificationcompanies also require the application and verification ofa series of quality attributes to meet market requirements.Producers are required to include complex know-how associatedwith product and process standards.On the internal LAC market, there are two segments:(1) high-income consumers, a small segment but one thatdemands quality goods similar to those of consumers inricher countries; and (2) a large segment of poor consumers,for whom the most important factor is price. A considerablenumber of countries only have the poor consumer segmentfor their goods, and increasingly need more agricultural importsin general, but especially food, because they are unableto meet the growing demand of their population.Commodity production systems consist primarily oflarge capitalist corporations that produce for the externalmarket and for mass domestic consumption. A considerableproportion of small-scale producers are linked to largeproduction chains, such as the ones that participate in thepoultry chain which is highly fragmented but efficiently coordinated.Others manage to find market niches for productswith a high value added, either on domestic markets oron markets in wealthier countries.The problems of inclusion of farmers displaced by productionchains, and without access to factor markets (land,water, and other inputs) and product markets, persist. Conflictsover development models and among organized socialgroups, the absence of public policies, and the shortage ofresources constrain efforts to plan and implement programsgeared to these social segments.Limited openings in markets and borders and a shortsupply of public resources work against a healthy climatefor investment in agriculture, although this is the economicsector that contributes the most to the economies of thecountries of the region.Investment of resources in agribusiness fluctuates on thebasis of the prices of export commodities, which go fromboom to crisis situations based on price variations. Agribusinessis still the main source of income for many LACcountries, however.Since the main economic activity in the region is thecompetitive production of commodities for the internationalmarket, production systems focus on increasing theirproductive efficiency on the basis of comparatively lowerproduction costs. To achieve this objective, the major corporationsfrequently take over and integrate all agriculturalproduction, agroindustrial, and input production processes.Highly competitive national and multinational productionchains are strengthened, for products such as soybeans andsugarcane, driven by the demand for biofuels.Efforts to develop systems to produce specialized anddifferentiated products, to meet social demands for higherquality products, are timid. There is a moderate increase inorganic production systems, although it is limited by the lackof an efficient certification structure. Product differentiationis restricted by the lack of a structure and R&D capacity intechnologies for processing agricultural products.3.4.3.1.4 Results of interaction among the systemsContinued production of commodities for the externaland internal market prolongs income inequality, caused bycompetition to reduce production costs. Thus, small-scaleproducers are prevented from participating in the most dynamicsector of agribusiness. Inequality persists because ofa reduction in public investment in education, science andtechnology, and rural development.Social inclusion and agrarian reform programs are notsuccessful in raising the income of most peasants and smallfarmers, due to widespread social conflicts and managementand continuity problems. Only a small group of producersin the best ecological and economic conditions improvetheir income profiles, because they form partnerships withcompanies that are in production chains or manage to producefor market niches for differentiated products with ahigh value added.There is still a considerable degree of social inequalityat the end of this period, which is expressed in differencesin the access to employment, food security, education, andhealth, by various social groups, including large producers,small family producers, agricultural wage-earners, and subsistencefarmers.The effects of climate change, the intensification ofpests and diseases associated with them, and the shortfallin financial resources contribute to a slight increase in socialinequality that prevails to the end of the period. This is thegeneral situation in LAC, but in a few countries improvementsare beginning to be seen, as a result of changes in andmore stable development policies.Food security problems in the region are much morethe result of demand problems caused by consumers whoseeconomic resources do not allow them access to the market,than due to the food supply. The region has the capacityto produce sufficient quantities to supply its domestic marketsand also to create an exportable surplus, especially inagricultural commodity-exporting countries, such as Brazil,Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. For the low per capitaincome countries that are highly dependent on food imports,the prices of these products increase, causing urbanfood security problems.Production of export commodities is generally based onthe use of environmental factors, such as water and soil, and


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 147on biodiversity. There is strong pressure by organized socialgroups to protect the environment, but resources availableto implement effect protective measures are inadequate.Private enterprises, and mainly producers of export commodities,refuse to include environmental preservation costsin their production costs. In both the poorest countries inthe region and in peasant production, where economic efficiencyis low, environmental sustainability is generally fonta concern for production systems, except in some traditionalor indigenous cultures. Deforestation continues, as does theintensive use of fertilizers and herbicides and the expansionof arable land, as a result of incentives to produce biofuels.3.4.3.2 2016-20303.4.3.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionAfter a long period of negotiations in the World Trade Organization,developed countries begin to reduce trade barrierspreviously used as a defense mechanism against the competitionof agricultural products. Agricultural commodityproducingcountries have to neutralize environmental barriersimposed out of fear of harmful environmental and climaticeffects resulting from the expansion of land planted tograin crops and energy products.The LAC countries already established on commoditymarkets, i.e., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,and Mexico, among others, manage to gain access to themost dynamic markets (United States, China, India), and,on a smaller scale, to the market for differentiated products.The economic results obtained allow these countriesto increase their capacity to invest in technological innovationfor agricultural production systems and thus to competeon some differentiated agricultural product markets.These countries continue to export commodities in additionto a portfolio of bioenergy products such as alcohol andbiodiesel.Consumers in wealthier countries both within and outsidethe region gradually demand safer and higher qualityfood and nonfood products that are also have functionalproperties and are produced according to environmentallyfriendly production methods, and they are willing to pay thecost associated with this demand. Internal LAC markets arecomposed mostly of low-income consumers, who want lowpricedfood, and of a middle class capable of demandingdifferentiated and healthy products at higher prices. Nichesfor high-income consumers with differentiated demandsincrease.In most of the region, an increase in the frequency or severityof pests and diseases, seen in the previous period andaggravated by rising temperatures, leads to improvements inthe development and use of best practices for managementof production systems, and to improvements in the nationalgovernmental structure for preventing and mitigating theimpact of new pests or diseases, or even epidemics, both ona domestic level and through regional cooperation.Major changes in the pattern of land use—for example,large tracts of land planted to a single oleaginous crop orsugarcane for production of biofuels—lead to the appearanceof new pests and diseases, which in turn result in thecreation of public policies and research plans to mitigatethe effects of these pests and diseases. Similarly, governmenthave planned adaptation policies in regions already highlyaffected by early manifestations of climate change, such asfloods, droughts, heat waves, and the like, and these policiescreate an environment that is conducive to the proliferationof epidemics. Thus progress is made in dealing withthe coexistence of agricultural production and epidemics inthe region.The temperature rises at the rate of 0.22°C-0.24°C everyten years and the frequency of extreme events increases.This has important but disparate effects on agriculture andproduction systems in the region, mainly due to the equallydisparate capacity of countries to adapt to or mitigate theseeffects. At the same time, many countries expand their capacityto live with these phenomena.The countries of the region that have a more developedresearch structure apply the results obtained from publicpolicies designed to mitigate the impact of climate change,to guide agricultural development. Financial and managementlimitations still affect the ability to obtain results thatcan be used for adaptation to or mitigation of the climateproblem, mainly in the poorest countries in the region.Many LAC countries adopt measures of technologicalinnovation, social development, environmental protection,and biosecurity, but in some countries political and budgetrestrictions cause the results to fall short of expectations.Democratic changes in government usually lead to managementchanges in public institutions, which in turn disruptthe continuity needed to obtain valid results. As a result ofthe creation of an environmental conscience, the countriesof the region implement more coherent biosecurity and environmentalprotection policies based on both domestic protocolsand protocols imported from rich countries, whichsubsidize all of part of the relevant implementation costs.The transition to establishing regulations and qualitystandards for food or agricultural products and theirenforcement, initiated in the previous period, continues.Governments, working in partnership with transnationalsproducing agricultural inputs and major stakeholders in thewholesale and retail trades, are responsible for managementof health and biosecurity standards. Governments take onthe task of supervising and assisting family-based agriculturalunits, with encouraging results.Strong social pressure to improve the structure of educationin the region has a positive impact on the quality ofpublic education, especially in the poorest countries, whichobtain good results. Private education improves as well.While developed countries far from the region makemajor investments in basic science to develop new technologies,such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and informationscience, the LAC countries also boost both investmentin basic science and transfers of know-how from developedcountries. Consequently, in some countries of the regionand in certain fields of research, there is pioneering scientificdevelopment, that enables them to acquire the capacity tomake important progress in production technologies for agriculturalsystems, agriculture, and product differentiation,and in improving their competitiveness.In LAC, NGOs that defend environmental sustainabilityand social inclusion, large private companies, and publicR&D institutions recognize to varying degrees the value of


148 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reporttraditional knowledge, which they seek for use in creatingnew products (such as pharmaceuticals or plant-based insecticides),cosmetics, and nutraceuticals.3.4.3.2.2 AKST systemsR&D resources remain scarce in LAC. As a rule, R&D islargely channeled to ensuring food supplies and economicefficiency. Priority is given to increasing productivity in agricultureor reducing production costs or both, in order toensure that the commodities produced are competitive. Inthe larger countries of the region, environmental sustainability,differentiation, and the quality of products are onthe public sector’s research agenda.The different LAC countries still have varying capacitiesto incorporate the advances in formal knowledge intoagriculture. Some, like Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, evenapply their advances in biotechnology and nanotechnologyto the most dynamic agribusiness production chains. Poorercountries, with limited resources and R&D infrastructure,are confined to adapting or importing technology. Countrieswith the capacity to generate technologies incorporate traditionalknowledge in this creative process.Public R&D organizations in the countries of the regionwith a long tradition in scientific research are better able tomanage strategic R&D tools, because they coordinate theresearch effort. In these countries, a new generation of researchersreplaced the former one and there was an increasein technical and management capacity in the public R&Dsystem. By the end of this period, the gap in scientific andtechnological capacity existing among the LAC countriesand between them and developed countries, such as Japan,Germany and the United States, is narrowed.Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina invest more public andprivate resources in R&D than the other countries, but investmentsin the region are proportionally lower than in theother regions of the world. In specific export productionchains and in countries with legislation to protect innovation,private investment in research is comparable to publicinvestment.Despite the persistence of scarce financial resources andcompetition with other areas of government, such as healthand security, governments of the region gradually increasepublic investment in science, technology, and education.There are financial resources for international assistance tohelp solve problems related primarily to environmental sustainability,social inclusion, and biosecurity.In the few LAC countries that do not have more institutionalizedpublic AKST structures, there are technologytransfer and adaptive research programs. In countries withmore institutionalized AKST public structures, there is competitionfor work space between the public and private sectors.This is focused mainly on generating the technology formore dynamic production chains. This competition betweenpublic and private organizations is driven by the economicreturn on investment in AKST, derived from knowledge protectionlegislation.In the region’s commodity exporting countries, thetechnologies generated by public and private AKST systemsare oriented more to intensive export agriculture, large andmedium-sized agricultural producers, agroindustry, and inputsuppliers. There are programs directed to adding valueto family agricultural production and developing differentiatedproducts.Due to continued pressure by world public opinion, inall countries, and especially in those with fragile, threatenedecosystems like the Amazon, or with water-stressed areas,such as the semiarid or arid regions found in Brazil, Peru,Ecuador and Mexico, research programs on environmentalprotection and conservation and on recovery of formerly degradedareas are developed. The technologies generated aretherefore adapted to these conditions and take into considerationthe most vulnerable social groups, such as peasants,subsistence farmers or indigenous communities.3.4.3.2.3 Agricultural production systemsFluctuating economic growth affects the region’s productionchains differently. Large corporations form extensive,well-coordinated production chains, which incorporate everythingfrom the production and sale of inputs, includingtechnology, to the production and sale of the end products.Know-how is automatically incorporated into them, as partof the process. Competition on the international market is thedetermining factor for including innovation in these chains.The most vulnerable production systems that do notparticipate in these chains seek diverse sources of technologyto solve efficiency and quality problems, which is criticalto gain market access. There are public credit resources forincorporating any innovations that are available. Throughoutthe region, commodity-producing systems made up oflarge capitalist companies are established to produce for theexternal market and for mass domestic consumption.A considerable proportion of small commercial producersis linked to large production chains, such as the ones thatparticipate in the highly fragmented but efficiently coordinatedpoultry chain. Others are able to participate in marketniches, producing products with a high value added in theirown country or in wealthier countries.Many of the problems related to inclusion of farmersdisplaced by production chains, without access to factormarkets (water, land, and other inputs) and product markets,are solved by persistent efforts and an improvement inpublic policy results. More open markets and borders andgreater availability of public resources lead to an increase ininvestment in agriculture, the economic sector that contributesthe most to the economies of the region.Investment in agribusiness still fluctuates on the basis ofexport commodity prices, but the fluctuations smooth outdue to better coordination between stocks, production managementand commodity prices. Agribusiness gains strengthas the primary source of income for most LAC countries.In the performance of productive systems, the focus ison increasing productive efficiency, based on increases inproductivity and lower production costs. The large corporationsintegrate all the agricultural productive processes,agroindustrial processes, production of inputs andthe wholesale trade, leaving to third parties only the retailtrade. Highly competitive and increasingly national andmultinational production chains are strengthened, drivenby the demand for biofuels, such as biodiesel from soybeansand African palm and ethanol from sugarcane. Productivechains for meat and fruit become part of the economic portfolioof the region.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 149Efforts to develop production systems for specializedand differentiated products are stepped up to meet the demandfor high quality products. There is a sharp increase inorganic production systems, stimulated by implementationof a certification structure. Product differentiation begins toproduce results based on the growth of an R&D structurewith the capacity to develop technologies for processing agricultureproducts.3.4.3.2.4 Results of interaction among the systemsDespite the fact that the consolidation of commodity productionfor external and internal markets exacerbates incomeinequality, by hampering the participation of smallscaleproducers in the most dynamic sector of agribusiness,social inclusion programs and research on family agricultureand agrarian reform lead to an increase in the income ofmany segments of peasant farmers. In addition, an expandinggroup of producers forms partnerships with companiesinserted in productive chains or produces differentiatedproducts with a high value added for market niches, and soit manages to improve its income profile.During this period, there is a considerable improvementin access by the people to health, employment, education,and food security in most of the countries. However, socialexclusion and lack of access to basic services are still prevalentin many countries.When problems of food security do occur in the region,they are caused by pests, diseases, epidemics, and climateand environmental disasters. However, the region generally,and especially commodity-exporting countries like Brazil,Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, have the capacity to producefor both their national markets and to generate exportablesurpluses. All of the countries still experience urbanfood security problems because of a lack of access to thefood market. For countries with a low per capita incomethat still rely on food imports, the prices of these importsincrease, causing food security problems.Organized social groups continue to exert strong pressurefor measures to protect the environment, and they receiveinternational funds to implement effective measuresto this end.Private enterprises, and mainly export commodity producers,partially incorporate environmental conservationcosts in their production cost, because they share this environmentalcost with the national government.In the poorer countries of the region, and in peasantproduction, an improvement in economic efficiency, outsideresources, and technical and management assistance includeenvironmental sustainability as an objective of productionsystems. As a result, deforestation diminishes, the use of fertilizersand pesticides improves, and use of arable land forlarge-scale production of biofuels stabilizes.3.4.4 Adapting mosaic3.4.4.1 2007-20153.4.4.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionThe concern over climate change and environmental sustainabilityis reflected in changes in various policies andregulations in some LAC countries in the early part of thesecond decade of the millennium, and in countries with bettergovernance capacity.Initially, changes in regulations affect trade among countries,including LAC, through a curious combination of barriers:on the one hand, nontariff barriers hinder agriculturalimports of doubtful environmental and social sustainability;and, on the other, subsidies are granted for agriculturalproducts with environmentally friendly characteristics.Barriers hamper trade among countries. Moreover, asregards external markets, the LAC countries see their competitivenessin agribusiness weaken on some markets, andespecially the European ones, that require guarantees onthe environmental sustainability of the production process.New and differentiated products are not demanded by the“new consumers.”Agricultural production declines in many countries,due to climate effects. Social movements in LAC in favorof greater environmental sustainability also favor considerationof ecosystems and strict development rules in eachcountry. All of these factors further reduce the productivecapacity of agriculture, and leads it to focus more on thedomestic market, and especially local markets. Thus, externalmarkets are no longer the target of agricultural productsfor many countries.Climate change contributes to the sharp rise in epidemicsand the emergence of new pests, leading to considerablelosses of human and animal lives and a substantial decline incrops. These losses are scattered unevenly across LAC, andalso affect countries that contribute only slightly (in termsof CO 2emissions, for instance) to global warming and theseverity of extreme events.This scenario begins to take shape following majortemperature increases in various regions of the world, andextreme weather events of an unprecedented intensity areobserved by the end of 2010. Countries prove incapable ofdealing with the crises triggered by these changes.Governance ranges from mediocre to acceptable in thecountries of the region. The profound institutional innovationrequired takes place under the pressure of strong mobilizationof different social groups, which force governmentsto share all of their decisions and action with these groups.Following the global trend, some LAC countries beginto modify their policies to create more sustainable systems,based on lessons learned from the relationship between socioeconomicand environmental systems. Some of the largercountries of the region, such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina,Peru, and Colombia, are very much affected, however, sincesome of their ecosystems and people have been subjected toextreme conditions for a long time, a situation aggravatedby climate change. For the first three countries, it is difficultto make the transition to a new paradigm, since they havecommodity export-oriented economies and agriculture. Forpoorer or smaller countries, where agriculture already concentrateson products for local markets or niches, such asCosta Rica for ornamentals, and Bolivia for quinoa, thistransition is easier.Agricultural development policies are designed to facilitatea change in the productive paradigm through specificR&D activities and the transfer and dissemination ofthe necessary traditional and conventional know-how andtechnologies.


150 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportPolicies for the integral development of biofuels andother renewable sources of energy are established within aframework of environmental sustainability. Similarly, lawsare adopted to encourage agroecological-based agriculturalproduction systems, and fees or taxes are imposed to limitagricultural operations that use large tracts of land or singlecrop techniques. In the middle of the period, policies to facilitateaccess to land for small landless producers are defined,as a way of minimizing the impact of the climate onthis vulnerable social group. Various conditions are facilitated,and credit, technical assistance, training, and the likeare provided, so that they can produce at least the basic foodthey need to survive in such adverse circumstances.Education is a key element for making the institutionalchanges needed by this new society. By about 2010, most LACcountries invest on average 13% of their GDP in education.At the outset of this period, many countries see theemergence of groups of scientists who advocate more a systemicapproach to agriculture. In their view, for instance,research on the biosecurity of transgenics should take intoaccount the possible systemic repercussions of genetic manipulationon the cell and the environment. These groupsargue that agriculture needs to use more environmentallyfriendly practices.Advances in scientific knowledge, including biology andnanotechnology, continue. Major investments are also madein R&D on the environment and its effects on agriculture.Research in this field provides the technological basis forcertification of environmental protection for agriculturalproducts.To reduce the risk of new environmental disasters, variousinternational organizations, including the World Bank,UN, UNESCO and WHO, step up efforts to organize andempower traditional communities around the world.The knowledge of these communities begins to be morehighly valued. Numerous initiatives for environmental protectionand for certification of the environmental safety ofproducts and production processes are proposed. In manyLatin American countries, there are numerous initiativesto systematize traditional knowledge and elucidate itsprinciples.3.4.4.1.2 AKST systemsOne of the demands for R&D is development or improvementof agricultural processes such as the following ones:(1) biological control of pests and diseases; (2) control ofthe application of nutrients and residues to soils in the productivesystem; (3) elimination or reduction of agriculturaland agroindustrial residues or waste; (4) identification anduse of natural sources of soil fertilizer; (5) supervision ofsafety and quality in processing foods; and (6) generationof productive processes with a lower environmental impact.Processes for increasing productivity continue to be givenimportance, but environmental aspects are also prioritizednow. The following topics linked to the environment andecosystems are now considered as priorities: (1) on-siteprospecting and conservation of germplasm; (2) economicvaluation of biodiversity and natural resources; (3) sustainableeconomic exploitation of biodiversity; (4) traditionalknowledge of biodiversity; (5) management of fishing resources;(6) conservation-oriented agriculture, management,and zoning; (7) management of water quality and use; and(8) management of forest resources.The existence of barriers promotes research on certificationof origin systems and ecological labeling of foods. Alarge part of R&D is channeled to research on adaptationto climate change. In defining R&D priorities, considerationmust be given first and foremost to the need to adapt to andmitigate climate change and environmental sustainability.Added to the social groups that have been the traditionalusers of agriculture research are now small-scale producers,subsistence farmers, and indigenous communities,as high priority groups for R&D.In LAC, all countries are interested in and share effortsto ensure that R&D is used to offer responses to the demandsof these social groups. However, only a few countrieshave the infrastructure, trained scientists, and financialresources to achieve advances in this area. Incorporationof know-how is partly limited by these resources. It occursonly after an evaluation of its potential repercussions on socioeconomicand environmental systems. Everyone involvedin scientific work makes major efforts to incorporate traditionalknowledge into formal AKST systems, while guaranteeingthe rights of traditional/indigenous communities.In some LAC countries there are sufficient but not optimumR&D resources. In allocating these resources, priorityis given to major environmental protection objectives,sustainable agricultural practices, and the safety of the consumer.These resources are for the most part national governmentmonies or social funds, but a small portion comesfrom regional sources.Strict biosecurity protocols are defined for research inbiotechnology and nanotechnology. Research in these sciencesis uninterrupted, but progresses slowly.R&D management is important, so that it is channeledcorrectly to meet environmental protection objectives. Varioussocial groups gain full participation in the integral processof agricultural R&D.R&D is concentrated in research institutes and publicuniversities, which work in a highly participatory way withusers and other organizations interested in R&D and its socialrepercussions. Private firms cooperate to some extentwith these organizations, but their sphere of action is morerestricted by laws limiting their concentration (i.e. to preventa few firms from controlling the entire market). Theyare oriented more towards solving problems related to productivityand reduction of production costs in productivesystems and their environmental externalities. Towards theend of 2015, the vast majority of private R&D firms becomeaware of the existence of important environment-relatedmarkets that are worth exploiting.In a situation of scarce resources, R&D endeavor toachieve efficiency in their use. Yet effectiveness is more importantthan efficiency. In other words, the emphasis is onR&D products and how well they adapt to the need for a reducedenvironmental impact, and only secondarily on optimizationof the use of financial resources to obtain them. Inthe beginning of the period, few technologies are availablefor the wide range of R&D users. By the end of the period,capacity increases, as does the understanding of the needs ofthese users. There is also an increase in the stock of differenttechnologies available and adapted to different users.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 151By the end of the period, after several years of effort,agricultural technologies that are better suited to differentproduction systems, crops, and social, economic, and ecologicalconditions are developed.3.4.4.1.3 Productive agricultural systemsPolicies that emphasize local sustainable development requirea considerable input of agroecological knowledge, aswell as the parallel development of diverse theories on thevaluation of natural resources and environmental services,as an integral part of the methodology needed to estimatethe economic efficiency of the new productive systems. Thesepolicies also require a high degree of social mobilization inorder to be accepted. This makes the relevant technologicalinnovation processes highly dynamic.Networks of advisory services are established, includingpublic or private NGOs, for multifunctional and sustainablemanagement of production systems, dissemination of technology,and facilitation of access to resources on the partof agricultural production systems and especially the mostvulnerable ones.The local markets served are very limited in volumeand global scope. In reality, the countries of the region haveimposed reciprocal trade obstacles. Agricultural productionchains are encouraged to incorporate the more vulnerableproductive systems and to support them in this effort.These chains also become more limited in their geographicalscope, and this facilitates the insertion of small-scale producers.The participants in these chains work to improve theproductive processes and products, always with the environmentas the reference point.The pursuit of environmental sustainability as a priorityobjective has a strong effect on access to productive resources,for the following reasons: (1) it notably restrictsthe use of natural resources, such as fresh water sources, forinstance; (2) it makes it easier to obtain development credits,in order to facilitate in turn the purchase of land by farmers;and (3) it demands an enormous effort to provide basictraining in cultural, scientific, and technological aspects, inorder to successfully rationalize and modernize productionsystems.In general, the productive systems supply relativelysmall nearby urban groups, because they do not have thecapacity to guarantee the supply of food in the amounts andwith the regularity required by populous urban centers. Thelargest LAC cities, including Mexico City, São Paulo, Rio deJaneiro, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Santiago, and Bogota, areabandoned by thousands of citizens without employmentoptions or food. Many people loot supermarkets or urbanstores. Others go to the countryside, and try to sustain themselvesdirectly with certain crops that are resistant to naturaldisasters, and especially food crops such as rice, beans, corn,and yucca. This is another source of agricultural losses.3.4.4.1.4 Results of interaction among the systemsFollowing the serious effects of climate change, a drasticchange in agricultural production systems occurs. Many ofthe major single-crop commodity systems do not survivethese changes. However, smaller integrated production systemsmanage to remain in operation and become stronger inthis scenario. Thus, in rural milieus, the rich and the poor—at least as regards the owners of the land—trade their positionsof relative wealth. In many cases, the percentage ofrich and poor also changes. The most vulnerable groups,i.e., subsistence farmers, rural wage-earners, or communitiesthat produce for their own consumption, especially inareas that were subjected to climatic stress such as frequentfloods or droughts, are the most affected by climate change.Many leave their homes and seek refuge in the cities, wherethere is generally not enough food and jobs for everyone.Moreover, the effects of climate change and the failureof many large-scale enterprises also displace unskilledworkers, who previously worked in sugarcane productionin Brazil, for example, or in oil palm production in Ecuadoror Colombia.With regard to income inequality, results are mixed.However, when we look at small, medium, and large landholdersin agricultural production systems, we see that ownershipof the land changes hands. Many rich owners leavethe business and become poor, while small owners growingcrops and crops systems with a lower environmental impactbecome stronger and grow. Rural workers, however,are frequently left without employment and need assistanceto meet their basic needs. Their situation improves withpolicies that facilitate their access to land, water, credit, andknow-how. But the employment issue is not totally resolved,because economic fragmentation causes a sharp drop in agriculturalproduction and job creation.Access to basic education, health, employment, housing,and food security are objectives pursued in a heterogeneousway by the countries of the region. In the fields ofeducation, health, and housing, the countries pioneering insocial and political change begin to reap their first successestowards the end of the period.Access to food in the quantities and with the regularityneeded in the cities becomes a major problem, because thenumber of persons without regular access to sufficient quantitiesof food to meet their basic needs increases. This accessis even more difficult for the poor, because the reduced supplyof food leads to increased prices.During this period, agriculture undergoes a major changeof objectives: it shifts from a strongly productivist approachto a profound environmentalist conviction. The quantity ofchemical products applied to agriculture, such as fertilizersand pesticides, is reduced. Environmentally friendly practicesand biodiversity gain ground, and although they do notalways lead to greater productivity or a higher yield in theshort run, they guarantee a continued supply of agriculturalproducts in the exploited ecosystems. There is also morecontrol over health standards, and products are required tobe free of contaminants related to production technologies.These changes in agriculture mean that environmental sustainabilitybegins to show signs of improving towards theend of this period, after a profound crisis during a good partof the previous years.3.4.4.2 2016-20303.4.4.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionInternational trade barriers, and especially nontariff barriers,continue in place, but countries agree not to impose


152 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportrestrictions on the exchange of information. The methodsand procedures developed in the previous period for ecologicallabeling of foods are perfected and extended.Continuing the trend of the previous period, competitionamong countries virtually comes to a halt. Countriesproduce primarily for their domestic markets, without largesurpluses. In a few cases, especially when a country afflictedby natural disasters or social crises needs assistance, food isexported and imported. In a few cases, there is also specializationof agricultural production by country, based on itstradition, culture, and agroecological capacity. Consumers,both within and outside LAC, increasingly value productswith certification of origin and environmental protection.There is also a growing demand by consumers for nutritionaland safe foods.In certain countries or regions, pests and diseases, aswell as epidemics, are almost permanently reduced by improvedsocio-environmental management, use of appropriatetechnologies, mitigation of the loss of biodiversity, andimprovement of soils. The results are: (1) an increase in productionand marketing of healthy, higher-quality products;and (2) a greater added value in these products.The status of climate change is still worrisome throughoutthe period. Many countries encourage agricultural R&Don adaptation to climate change and implement productionsystems specifically designed for that purpose. Thereis a more robust capacity to adapt to and mitigate climatechange.Optimum governance conditions are consolidated inmost of the region towards the end of the period. Agriculturaldevelopment policies are pursued. Laws are adoptedto limit the size of large corporations, applicable to bothexisting ones and new corporations that may be established,by restricting their acquisitions of and mergers with othercompanies. The purpose of this legislation is to guaranteea better balance of power among the different social stakeholders.A considerable portion of the fiscal resources obtainedare used to implement initiatives for designing andestablishing a new society. Many countries adopt regulationspertaining to the “Local Commerce RegionalizationInitiative” (Carpenter et al., 2005), permitting cooperationamong transnational companies if they use local productsand if the value added is appropriate for all the partners.Strict standards and regulations on the composition,origin, and environmental safety of foods are applied bothdomestically and to erect trade barriers.A concern over the environment leads to restrictions onthe participation of biofuels in the energy matrix of countries,to prevent the expansion of agricultural land. Alternatives,such as nuclear energy and solar energy captured andpowered by nanotubes, emerge in the middle of the period,as clean, mastered alternatives to meet the energy requirementsof a growing world population. An extensive debatebegins on meeting energy needs by using these alternativesources of energy instead of biofuels and the consequent expansionof agricultural land.The processes and activities initiated in the previous periodto improve education are pursued. Local educationalsystems achieve good results, after overcoming problemsrelated to financing and teacher training.In LAC many cooperative work arrangements are consolidated,in view of the realization that R&D is increasinglymore expensive but essential for the development ofthe countries of the region. These arrangements even includethe foundation of regional R&D institutions to achieve acritical mass of researchers and increase the probability ofimportant progress in the new technologies (biotechnologyand nanotechnology). They are also a way to considerablyreduce operating costs.There are many projects shared among countries thatwere designed to obtain the scientific support of this guaranteeof the production and supply of healthy, quality food.Biotechnology and nanotechnology are used to generateknowledge on the reaction and resilience of ecosystems(Carpenter et al., 2005), but the interaction between themis not yet fully understood. This is reflected in the scant attentiongiven to the impact of this interaction that results inepisodes of contamination of many natural resources foundin different countries. In other words, there is generally noawareness that waste products thrown into a river that runsthrough many countries is going to cause the contaminationof drinking water in other communities, for instance.By the end of the past decade, indigenous and localcommunities begin to reap substantial benefits from the appropriationof formal knowledge in the most widely variedareas. As a result of this and the fact that they are highly organized,they receive monetary income from various productsderived from agriculture or biodiversity obtained on thebasis of this knowledge.The failure to care for common resources, such asoceans, cross-border rivers, the atmosphere, wildlife, etc.,enhances the value attached to traditional knowledge. It isincreasingly more systematized and its principles are elucidatedby scientists from the communities themselves, whouse formal knowledge in this effort. These situations thatare so favorable to traditional knowledge are not found uniformlythroughout the world or even throughout LAC.3.4.4.2.2 AKST systemsThe existence of barriers promotes R&D on origin certificationsystems and ecological labeling of foods, and therelationship between environmental services and climatechange, and its reciprocal effect on agriculture and ecosystems.There is also a greater interest in (1) conservationand management of pollinating insects; (2) prospecting forand the sustainable management of plants; (3) identificationand study of current and potential exotic invasive species;(4) the use of genetically modified organisms and their impacton agrobiodiversity; and (5) the impact of agriculturalnanotechnology on human health and the environment.An important concern for R&D during this period is thedevelopment of sustainable productive systems capable oflarge-scale food production. R&D systems are directed toall social groups, but focus especially on the most vulnerablegroups. The free exchange of information and scientistsamong countries, and the growing value attached to scienceguarantee the technical capacity of the R&D system in manyof the LAC countries. Biotechnology and nanotechnologyare disciplines that play an important role in R&D projects.The incorporation of traditional knowledge increases.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 153Society’s confidence in science mounts. The control ofsocial stakeholders over R&D activities implemented in theprevious period slackens in this period, so that advances inbasic disciplines may be incorporated, thereby contributingto the understanding of the environment and its friendly use.Resources available for R&D continue to be adequate butnot abundant. There are some additional resources derivedfrom accreditation services and certification of products bysome R&D institutions. There are difficulties in obtainingoutside resources for R&D. Social participation in generatingknow-how and technology for productive systemsexpands. The coordination of efforts among the variousstakeholders with different interests and the need for a focalpoint for similar programs and projects are sources ofconsiderable inefficiency in the use of financial resources,infrastructure, and capacity. At the outset of this period, privateR&D organizations, greatly reduced in size and power,begin to participate more actively in R&D, in cooperationwith public organizations.R&D achieves important progress in understanding andmanaging ecosystems. Environmental services improve as aresult of the better understanding of their repercussions onthe environment. The efficiency and effectiveness of scientificactivity have gained considerable ground in comparisonwith the previous period: efficiency, because it is necessaryto rationalize the use of scarce resources; and effectiveness,because the competition of many stakeholders, includingusers, in defining and obtaining a technological solutionmakes it possible to build transdisciplinary structures thatare better adapted to the needs of these users. The time betweencreation and implementation of a project, however,becomes longer, due to the application of rules of collectiveparticipation in this implementation. There are cases wherethe result is delayed so much that it is no longer relevantfor users. There are also many cases of duplication of efforts,caused by the fact that the local and decentralized systemsdo not have adequate communication and integrationmechanisms.The participation of so many stakeholders in developingknow-how and technologies is also a factor that has a positiveinfluence on obtaining appropriate technologies, but attimes they are not applied to the interested systems, eitherbecause of delays in obtaining them, or because the informationon their existence is not adequately communicated.3.4.4.2.3 Agricultural production systemsThe incorporation of knowledge into agriculture is activelypursued by all stakeholders that can benefit from it.Decision-makers are also moving in this direction to reducethe negative impact of the transition that occurred in theprevious period and to stimulate grater agricultural production.Policies emphasizing local sustainable development allowfor more agroecological knowledge to be included.The markets served are essentially domestic. A few specializedmarkets are established as a result of the gradualspecialization of countries in a few agricultural products,which have comparative advantages in terms of culture, tradition,agroecological conditions, and the like.Most stakeholders in vulnerable production systemsare highly organized, as a result of decentralization of ruraldevelopment planning and the greater weight given localproposals. The development of community organizationsincorporates social organizations promoted by productionchains or cooperative movements in the communities.There are resources to support agriculture, with a viewto protecting it from natural disasters. But these resourcesare not abundant, since there are many social demands andeconomic resources for this purpose are limited. During thelast decade of the period, both agricultural production systemsand cities suffer from limited access to water, especiallyin the semiarid zones of Latin America, in Brazil, Mexico,Argentina, Peru, and Colombia. This reduced access displacessubsistence farmers and reduces agricultural productionin many countries.The products and processes of practically all agriculturalsystems are healthier and more environmentally friendly. Asin the previous period, there are problems in obtaining foodin the quantities and with the regularity needed to feed theentire population.3.4.4.2.4 Results of interaction among the systemsAgricultural income does not increase very much, as a resultof the dynamics of the local markets themselves. The policiesdesigned by countries to reduce the gap in agrarian incomein the previous period are improved and show promisingresults. The narrowing of the income gap indirectlyinduces many who had migrated to urban centers to returnto the rural milieu, thereby partially alleviating the problemof food supply to the urban poor.With regard to education, health, and housing, countriesimprove access to these sectors towards the end of theperiod. Access to employment is somewhat better than inthe previous period, because agricultural systems acquiregreater capacity and experience, and thus are more efficientthat in the previous period. Many of these systems alsoachieve economic sustainability by the end of the period.Healthy food is guaranteed for the urban poor, whohave the means to acquire it in the cities, but the total foodsupply is not guaranteed, in the quantity and with the regularityneeded during this period. The increased populationand demand for food causes major social conflicts, causingmany countries to include in their constitutions the guaranteeof available food. This only partially solves the problemof a shortage of food, which is democratically distributedamong the poor.The result in terms of environmental sustainability is animprovement in the protection of ecosystems locally. However,common natural resources shared by various countriesfrequently suffer from the impact of different managementsystems, and also at times from neglect, which has a repercussionon other societies.3.4.5 TechnoGarden3.4.5.1 2007-20153.4.5.1.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionThe governments of various European countries begin toeliminate agricultural subsidies and tariff barriers, as a


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 155knowledge in the vast majority of cases. The enhanced valueof environmental services gradually changes this picture.3.4.5.1.2 AKST systemsThe concern over the environment and environmental sustainabilityin agriculture grows throughout the period, as aresult of increased temperatures and more frequent extremeclimate events in the region. Consequently, R&D in LACgives high priority to knowledge about the environmentand its relationship with agriculture. This concern materializesin a heavy investment of resources for research on this.Various R&D programs initiated also specifically focus onadaptation to or reduction of the impact and mitigation orreduction of the causes of climate change. By midperiod,investment in research designed to measure and assessesthe value of environmental services and biodiversity alsoincreases.R&D priorities include development of processes for:(1) control of residues and nutrients added to soils of productivesystems; (2) treatment and recycling of agriculturaland agroindustrial waste; (3) precise evaluation of the needfor inputs, water, etc. for plant growth (precision agriculture);(4) safety and quality guarantees in food processing;and (5) creation of varieties and strains adapted to hostileenvironmental conditions. All of these processes are complementaryand designed to increase productivity. The followingtopics linked to the environment and ecosystems arepriorities: (1) the economic valuation of biodiversity andnatural resources; (2) sustainable economic exploitation ofbiodiversity; (3) management of fishing resources; (4) managementof the quality and use of water; and (5) managementof forest resources.In terms of the social groups targeted by R&D, by theend of this period an important change occurs: R&D is nolonger directed preferentially to large and medium-sizedtraditional producers, but instead it is geared to end consumers,agroindustry, and policymakers on a priority basis,and only secondarily to merchants and subsistence farmers(Castro et al., 2005; Lima et al., 2005). Indigenous communitiesand small-scale producers are not important to R&Dorganizations at the outset of the period, but this situationchanges over time due to the growing interaction betweenresearch institutions and these communities.A growing awareness of the importance of science andR&D also means that LAC scientists receive greater financialand token compensation for their work. They work in closecooperation, forming multi-institutional research networkswith scientists in many LAC countries and in countries outsidethe region as well. In this way, advances in knowledgewithin LAC and the incorporation of knowledge generatedin other regions of the world are facilitated.Throughout virtually the entire period, traditionalknowledge is not given serious consideration as a sourceof technologies for formal systems in LAC. In 2013, withthe impact of climate change in LAC, many countries beginto debate the advisability of using traditional knowledge todefine practices to adapt to extreme weather phenomena.Little by little traditional communities begin to be seen assources of knowledge on the different biomes and the environmentalservices provided by them. This realization isconfined to a few countries.Thanks to sustained economic growth, during this periodmost LAC countries have financial resources for longterminvestment, for instance in R&D. They also have acritical mass of internationally reputed scientists in specificfields. The R&D project management and implementationprocess is increasingly professionalized. It is based on detailedstudies of the future and on long-term planning. Thisprocess also increasingly includes other stakeholders interestedin the results of R&D activities.Research and development activities form an arenawhere public and private R&D organizations compete andcooperate. These two sectors have the financial and humanresources needed to perform well. They establish a divisionof labor according to which some of the more profitablecommodities, such as corn, tobacco, melons, papaya, woodspecies, and cotton, in addition to most of the products witha high value added, are the purview of the private sector,while species such as rice, beans, coffee, citrus fruits, wine,yucca, mango, bananas, and cashews are of strategic importanceto the public sector. The two sectors cooperate in someareas of research, such as soybeans (Castro el al., 2006).Research in LAC produces important results for agriculture.In food chains, there are advances in certification,traceability, and food safety in general. There are also importantdevelopments that have to do with biofuels. Thesuccessful experience of Brazil with alcohol as a replacementfor gasoline is used as an example for the developmentof other plant-based energy sources, such as oil fromoil palm, which is used as a substitute for diesel in Braziland other LAC countries. As a result of heavy investmentin the environment, by around 2015 difficult issues havingto do with the economic valuation of biodiversity and naturalresources in the provision of environmental services andfor sustainable agricultural production begin to be resolved.Important efforts are also made in the area of managementof forest resources and the quality and use of water, whichbecomes a source of concern on the heels of climate changeeffects observed in the course of the period.The technologies generated by public and private R&Dand by broad social participation in the research process areusually adapted to the systems served by them. These technologiesalso come close to an ideal of what the most appropriatetechnologies for sustainable development wouldbe. This is true even in the case of more vulnerable socialgroups that were not given priority at the beginning of theperiod.3.4.5.1.3 Agricultural production systemsThe situation created by extemporaneous changes in theclimate encourages the intensive incorporation of relevantknowledge into agricultural production systems. The countriesof the region approach the incorporation of knowledgeand nature itself with widely varying degrees of intensity.In this scenario, the incorporation of knowledge intoagriculture is a business matter, and producing enterprisesdo it by training their workers in the use of new techniquesand inputs to improve the productivity and sustainability ofthe systems. The enterprises also require the implementationand verification of a series of practices to comply withmarket requirements. Similarly, the stakeholders of smallerproduction systems are organized in associations, so that


156 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportthey can comply with rules of efficiency and standards andcertification requirements.Genetically modified organisms are used more frequentlyby a growing number of producers throughout LAC.The costs of using these technologies are reduced and thustheir use becomes more widespread throughout the region.At the outset of the period, the use of transgenic organismsthat leads to an increase in use of environmentally harmfulinputs, such as herbicides, for instance, causes conflicts withall those who defend environmental protection within andoutside the region. Towards the middle of the period, somecases of contamination in units producing biopharmaceuticalscause a wave of social rejection of this type of biotechnology.However, the introduction of new agriculturalvarieties adapted to hostile environments and of transgenicorganisms capable of acting as bio-remedials (for instance,in cases of contamination of the soil by toxic substances)or of preventing soil erosion lead to the dissemination oftransgenic organisms and their acceptance by LAC and itsmarkets.The major production systems, which are highly technified,serve external and internal markets. These systems arean integral part of large production chains; they are highlycoordinated and have an in-depth knowledge of the marketsserved and consumer demands. Most of the small farmers,and also some groups that in the beginning of the periodpracticed subsistence agriculture, manage to insert themselvesin some of these chains or to participate in certainmarket niches, with the production of goods, such as froglegs, for a very limited public. The number of subsistenceproducers is sharply reduced.Since the very beginning of the scenario, plentiful resourcesare allocated to promote and disseminate use ofknow-how in agricultural production systems. The productionsystems receive considerable resources to improve theireconomic efficiency and product quality, especially in theform of credits and know-how, rather than land. The goalis to increase the productivity of agricultural productionsystems. Moreover, some of these systems also provide oneor several environmental services, which are encouraged inmany LAC countries by the end of the period.Due to the influence of climate change, some regionsbegin to experience problems in purchasing water in thequantity and with the regularity needed to ensure the effectiveperformance of their production systems.Large productive systems that use modern productionand management methods succeed in operating with greatefficiency and use advanced processes to produce highqualityproducts. Thus, they also become more competitive.A large component of know-how and technology is incorporatedinto these products and processes. Although theexternal market still prefers commodities to differentiatedproducts, the latter go to the broad LAC internal market.This situation does not change until the end of the period,when a few important developed markets begin importing agreater percentage of differentiated products from LAC.The production systems of small farmers are insertedin the major chains by private national or transnationalcorporations as suppliers of inputs. They are also insertedas producers of raw materials in other chains (or in otherwords, as independent components that are not coordinatedby another component, as is the case in the first situationdescribed). These small systems are dedicated to producingcommodities or a few differentiated products.The vast majority of these independent production systemsinserted in production chains are also successful overall.However, this is not the case in situations in which unforeseenfactors, such as rising temperature, natural disasters, orepidemics, threaten the performance of these systems.3.4.5.1.4 Results of interaction among the systemsThe improved performance of productive activities, especiallyin terms of economic efficiency, begins to have a positiveeffect on income inequality. The need to substantiallyimprove the quality of products and services and to paymore attention to their environmental consequences generallyhas a good effect on market prices.During this period, there is generally a considerable increasein the indicators of greater social equality. Access toeducation, employment, health, and food security improve.In a few LAC countries, this progress is more limited.Positive changes are recorded in urban food security andsafety indicators, because there is a better understandingand monitoring of the handling, packaging, and processingof foods. The incorporation of environmental adaptabilityin many varieties and strains leads to a widespread increasein the availability of food, and thus to a decrease in pricesfor urban consumers.In the beginning of the period, agriculture in both richand poor countries is heavily based on exploitation of ecosystemsto produce processed foods or raw materials. Inother words, the products generated are commodities or differentiatedproducts and always derived from human actionon nature. Little by little, starting in Europe and then in theUnited States, global agriculture is diversified and begins toinclude environmental services as one of its functions. Theseservices range from protection of water sources, carbon sequestration,and protection of habitats for pollinators, suchas birds and bees, to the reduction of pollution generatedin agriculture and simple conservation of plant and animalspecies. As a result, there is an improvement in indicatorsfor environment sustainability in agriculture.3.4.5.2 2016-20303.4.5.2.1 Context of AKST systems and agriculturalproductionFree global markets are consolidated. Biosecurity and environmentalprotection barriers are further strengthened.Competition for markets gives priority to product differentiationobtained by incorporating environmentallyfriendly technologies. LAC increases its participation inthese markets. Consumers throughout the world are willingto pay higher prices for products linked in some wayto environmental protection initiatives. Thus, certificationthat products are developed by organizations that providean environmental service of some kind is a factor adding tothe value of the product.LAC still participates in commodity markets, especiallyfood commodity markets, where rich countries are majorimporters, since in some of those countries agriculture hasdisappeared. This group of countries continues to use, when


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 157necessary, the raw materials produced by less developedcountries, to produce new products by chemical and/or molecularmanipulation.Consumers worldwide, including LAC consumers, areon the alert to prevent any environmental threats, becausethere are a few severe natural disasters that occur about midwaythrough the period that cause devastation in variousparts of the globe. Thus consumers value any products madewith a concern for environmental and ecosystem conservation,whether it has to do with the production processesused or the fact that the systems producing such goods offerenvironmental services. But consumers also demand newand original types of foods, while at the same time they areattentive to issues related to health and contamination, andissues involving new genetic or molecular manipulation.Thanks to the implementation of prevention and monitoringtechnologies and more sustainable practices, epidemicscaused by known agents are more controlled and the timebetween successive outbreaks is longer. However, epidemicscaused by unknown vectors are particularly intensive anddifficult to control, although technological development as arule allows for a prompt solution to these pests as well.The status of climate change is worrisome until the endof the period, when the rate of increase in temperatures beginsto decline. This reverse is the result of a major effort todevelop sustainable technologies that are intensively used byproduction sectors in countries.In most countries, governance is nearly optimal, withstability and consistence in policies, regardless of the governmentin power.The concern over environmental services and the environmentand its protection leads many countries to issuelaws to guarantee an economic return for entities that canprove that they provide a specific environmental service tothe country and the world. In addition to environmentalprotection, these laws provide work for many unemployedworkers, who would otherwise move to the cities.When LAC governments observe this unforeseen consequenceof their environmental protection policies, theypass laws to allocate land for the sole purpose of environmentalpreservation and ecosystems. These lands, owned bythe government, are managed by persons selected from thepoor, based on proposals that these managers make for thesustainable use of these properties.In LAC, there are policies to encourage tourism thatpromise a return to nature, with farms that function in thesame way as they did in the mid 1900s and that resemblelarge entertainment parks, where tourists interact with personsand not machines. Activities involving visual arts or theculture of body aesthetics are also strongly promoted, as anideal way to prevent the deterioration of health or to reducethe mortality rate.The economic return on investment in R&D is guaranteedby sustainable policies for protection of knowledgeand by good management of these policies. Education is increasinglyguaranteed and valued. It is offered partly by thestate and partly by corporations that employ highly qualifiedprofessionals. They must have increasingly complex advanceddegrees to meet the performance standards requiredby systems that apply knowledge at increasing rates ofintensity.Improvements in regulations and standards and theirenforcement are completed.Unemployment grows as a result of the intensive incorporationof technology in all activities. However, this growthis offset to some extent by policies providing incentives fornew economic pursuits. Large properties are taxed heavily,so that governments will have the resources to establish andmaintain unemployment insurance for those out of work insuch a technified world. There are also incentives to discouragecorporations from laying off employees as a result of theincorporation or modification of technology.R&D provides the basis for the valuation of environmentalservices based on research that uses biotechnologyand nanotechnology. Public institutions in some LAC countriesparticipate in this research.There are enormous advances in virtually all areas ofapplication of biology—animal and plant production, processingof quality, healthy foods, biomanufacturers of industrialraw materials, the environment, production and useof the biomass, and new nonfood products—and also ofnanotechnology—animal and plant monitoring and therapies,monitoring of food processing, detection of pathogens,virus, GMOs in raw materials and processed goods, identitypreservation systems, and environmental treatment andmonitoring systems.Biotechnology, nanotechnology, and soil science are integratedand produce spectacular results in the area of environmentalremediation.Varieties and strains adapted to hostile environmentalconditions, such as plants resistant to drought and salinity,are developed for agriculture by genetic manipulation.These are a few examples of the advances that take placein LAC.Concern over the handling of environmental services increasesin all countries, and gradually leads to an enhancedappreciation for traditional and local knowledge. To betterguarantee the continuity of these services, many practices ofindigenous and traditional communities are appropriated.Many of these communities receive economic benefits fromthis knowledge, because there are stronger laws that guaranteethis. Conservation of biodiversity is also regarded asan environmental service. It includes preservation of riverbasins and the reduction of environmental contamination,because the importance of living in harmony with differentanimal and plant species for the preservation of many ecosystemsis a matter of common knowledge. In various LACcountries traditional knowledge is also highly relevant, especiallyin relation to its interaction with formal science, toenhance the understanding of biodiversity and its uses.Enormous advances in science once again bring outglobal fears regarding the ethical limits of scientific activityand technological innovation. Innovation of products andprocesses generates a debate among various social groupsregarding the use of nature, as known and appreciated. Advancesin science and its applications also give rise to morepractical problems, because the latest technology is almostcompletely autonomous and no longer requires as much laboras before, especially relatively unskilled labor. During thisperiod, however, the average skill level is high at the level ofsecondary education. Thus there is social pressure to reducethe pace of scientific development, and LAC is not exempt.


158 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Report3.4.5.2.2 AKST systemsR&D priorities for LAC are as follows: (1) application ofrecent advances in valuation of environmental services, todefine protocols that make environmental protection an activitythat supplements agriculture; (2) application of advancedbiology and nanotechnology to production of foodand new materials, that can be used in many productiveareas, such as health, pharmaceutics, agriculture, industry,etc.; (3) use of microorganisms for environmental remediation;and (4) improvement of nanosystems for monitoringdiseases and for application of therapies to animal or plantgroups, identity preservations systems, and tracing andmonitoring and environmental recovery systems. Priority isalso given to developing alternative technologies that allowfor the continuity of agriculture even under the impact ofclimate change and that prevent increases in the frequencyand intensity of these effects by reducing the factors thatcontribute to climate change today.All social groups are focused on R&D in LAC. The capacityof professionals in science and technology in LAC isgrowing day by day, as a result of their daily participation inthe global development of science and technology, throughpublications, attending congresses, and joint projects. Thetime lag between an advance in one area of knowledge andits application to productive activities is considerably shortened.There is a keen interest in systematizing traditionalknowledge, which is massively explored by formal scienceunder the protection of national, regional, and internationallaws or agreements that guarantee the rights of traditional/indigenous peoples and the harmonious interaction betweenthese two types of knowledge. This interaction is stronglydriven by a common concern for the environment.All productive and economic activities depend on thecontinued progress of R&D. Governments and corporationsgive priority to investment in know-how and technology.There are abundant resources available for this purpose.Management of R&D is regarded as a strategic factor inthe competitiveness of companies that develop agriculturaltechnology. This has to do with the fact that the time spanbetween the design of a new product and its entry on themarket becomes shorter and shorter.Society participates more in research, since privateR&D organizations feel the growing pressure of publicopinion that is concerned over their power. This participationis mainly in management processes, but it is limited inthe case of technological development projects, due to thespecialized knowledge required.Public and private organizations still work in cooperation,but the role of the private sector in R&D becomesmore pronounced. In terms of products and services developed,this means that now there are few species of plantsand animals that the private sector is not interested in, andthat are left for public research. Interest of the private sectorin basic science also increases, because of its capacity togenerate knowledge that serves as a basis for future practicalapplications. There is a huge number of plant and animalspecies with sequenced genomes. Functional and structuralgenetics also make great strides in understanding gene functions.These advances are achieved to a great extent as a resultof the cooperation between public and private science.Research is increasingly more effective, i.e., capable ofgenerating the innovative products or services demandedto address equally novel problems in production systems,ecosystems, and their interface in brief time periods. Butthe plentiful resources lead to a lack of concern with theefficiency of R&D, which becomes increasingly more expensive,even in situations that lend themselves to a morerational use of resources to obtain a certain outcome.As for products and services obtained from R&D, theyare now virtually problem-specific or demand-specific, becausethey are designed to solve a specific problem or to meeta specific demand of a social group. This extensive portfolioof products and services is also one of the reasons for the lowefficiency of R&D activities in certain circumstances.There is a sharp improvement in the understanding of social,economic, biological, and ecological systems. Technologiesare increasingly better adapted to the systems where theyare to be applied, although this adaptation is not yet perfect.New problems arise periodically in these systems, as a resultof the unforeseen interaction of new technologies and theirrepercussions on the emerging properties of these systems.3.4.5.2.3 Agricultural production systemsThroughout this period, new knowledge was intensively incorporatedinto production systems. Various other humanactivities considerably mitigate climate change. Relevanttechnological changes introduced in production systemscontribute to this mitigation. There are also important advancesin adaptation to climate change effects.In this scenario, companies manage the incorporationof know-how into agricultural by training their workers inthe use of inputs and new techniques, to improve the productivityand sustainability of the systems. Companies alsorequire their employees to use and check a series of practicesto comply with market requirements. Company employeesor partners are required to incorporate a pool of complexknowledge associated with the standards applicable to productsand production processes.The large, highly tecnified production systems servethe external and internal markets. These systems are partof major production chains, which are highly coordinatedand have an in-depth knowledge of the markets served andthe consumer demand that influences those markets. Processorsof basic agricultural products participate as suppliers ofpre-treated raw materials (in other words, products that aresubjected to some processing following primary production)for these major production chains. Virtually all the systemsinclude new activities not in the agricultural sector, such asenvironmental services, tourist operations, or operation ofrest homes, to give a few examples. These activities are integratedinto the agriculture-based activities and serve bothinternal and external markets.The major production systems and independent producersare well organized to defend their interests, with strongprofessional support. Most of the independent producersmanage to insert themselves into the chains and markets,but there is still a displacement of small-scale producers tothe cities.The policies of abundant resources available for in-


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 159corporating knowledge into production systems remain ineffect. The region tends to become standardized in its technologicalefforts, and plentiful resources prevail throughoutmost of the region. Problems of access to water are solvedby new technologies to reprocess wastewaters and by desalinizationof salt or brackish waters. Land as a resourceand environmental protection are ensured through the successfuluse of degraded environments considered as hostileto life in the past.The major production systems, which use modern productionand management methods, operate with great efficiencyand produce high-quality products using advancedprocesses; this enhances their capacity to compete on markets.A large component of knowledge and technology areincorporated into these products and processes, therebygenerating countless differentiated products.Smaller-scale production systems (no longer called“small producers”) participate as suppliers of preprocessedraw materials for large production chains. The vast majorityof the production systems are successful.3.4.5.2.4 Results of interaction among the systemsIf only agriculture-based productive activities are considered,income inequality is sharply reduced in this period,as a result of the insertion of many producers, consideredas small producers in the previous period, into powerfulproduction chains and transnationals. Thus all the socialgroups participating in this activity obtain higher incomes.However, wage-earners who were working in the fields beforethe work was completely technified lose their jobs andmigrate to the cities, which are now faced with an increaseddemand for food and basic services.Access to education, housing, and food security areguaranteed by governments in different ways. Employment,however, is not guaranteed, although the diversification ofagriculture has contributed to its increase and governmentshave implemented powerful mechanisms to create alternativelabor markets and provide compensation for the unemployed.Urban food security is supported by abundant, cheap,diversified food that meets high health standards. The sustainabilityof agricultural production systems gradually increasesthroughout the period, as a result of the applicationof more sustainable technologies, but also because agriculturehas another paradigm, since environmental services arealmost always provided along with the conventional productionsystems. Another important reason for this growing,yet incomplete sustainability is the use of regulatoryprocedures and standards in the technified countries of theregion. There are also isolated cases of newly emerging environmentalproblems, resulting from technological solutionsto previously existing problems.3.5 Implications of the Scenarios forInnovation and Development PoliciesThe purpose of this chapter is to help answer the followingquestion, with specific reference to Latin America and theCaribbean and alternatives for the future development ofthe region:“How can we reduce hunger and poverty, improve rurallivelihoods, and facilitate equitable and environmentally,socially, and economically sustainable development throughthe generation, access to, and use of agricultural knowledge,science, and technology?”On the basis of these alternatives, it is possible to proposenonprescriptive recommendations as to how scienceand technology can best contribute to this development.The five scenarios constructed to answer this questionshow that knowledge, science, and technology can contributeto the changes suggested in the question, but in differentways, depending on each alternative scenario considered.The scenarios also make it clear that this contributionwill be more likely and facilitated in situations in whichother political, economic, and social conditions are alsopresent. In each scenario, the direct influence of these conditions,and the interaction among them, will guide the actionof formal AKST systems, and the use of traditional knowledge,and hence determine their contribution to sustainabledevelopment, as proposed in the question that generatedthis critical evaluation (IAASTD).According to the Global Orchestration scenario, societyhas abundant resources, it is guided by market forces andis highly interconnected, but is concerned only on a reactivebasis with the impact of human action on the environment.Formal AKST systems are characterized by uncontrolledgeneration of new products, which increasingly incorporatemore technology to meet ever more sophisticated demand.Little if any use is made of traditional knowledge. As a resultof the high degree of technology incorporated into thesystem, there are unemployment problems. Due to the carelessexploitation of natural resources, the impact of humanaction intensifies, generally leading to highly negative consequencesfor agriculture and human life.In the Order from Strength scenario, society is fragmented,and there is a pervasive distrust of the rich, and generally developedcountries on the part of the poor and generally undevelopedcountries; highly restrictive governance conditionsand largely inadequate policies prevail in LAC, and there isa strong trend towards aggressive exploitation of the naturalresources of the poor countries by the richer countries. Theregion even loses its capacity to generate technology independently,and becomes increasingly dependent on otherregions. The incorporation of traditional knowledge in thisscenario is only peripheral and marginal. As a result, LACbecomes a mere supplier of inputs for the rich countries.There is an enormous social and economic crisis, and theenvironment is subjected to unprecedented impacts.The “Life as it is” scenario presents a world in whichcountries are integrated, but not to a great extent. Thecourse of action is defined by the market, but not fully, anda division among countries persists, but it is still possible toconceive of change in the long run. There is both a proactiveand a reactive approach to interaction between man andnature. In other words, it is a pluralistic world, in whichnone of the variables considered dominates others in its influenceon the scenario. In these circumstances, the AKSTsystem also obtains relatively mediocre results in its effortsto achieve any of the major sustainable development objectivesreferred to in the initial question that the chapterendeavors to answer, although the results are positive in the


160 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportarea of social development and environmental sustainability.Application of traditional knowledge improves towardsthe end of this scenarioThe Adapting Mosaic presents a world in which immenseinstitutional changes occur, including asymmetries ofpower among social stakeholders, paradigms for explorationof natural resources, generation of socio-political agreements,and distribution of wealth among social segments.All of these key elements for social and economic life aretransformed. It is also a fragmented world, as in the Orderfrom Strength scenario, but this fragmentation is not orientedtowards domination of a fragment—or a region orriver basin—over others. Each fragment seeks its own waysand places to deal with the environment, to reduce the impacton it. This entire transformation generates major crisesand difficulties, affecting even urban food security in thisscenario. There is also duplication of efforts, with a weakcapacity to learn from imitation in many fragments, anddelays in arriving at solutions. But there are also improvementsin some indicators, and especially in the environmentalimpact. According to this scenario, formal AKST systemsare initially viewed with distrust, but they clearly make animportant contribution to achieving the objectives pursuedby social groups, and so this distrust diminishes towardsthe end of the period. The empowerment of all of the morevulnerable social groups enhances the value of traditionalknowledge, which is used in the Adapting Mosaic world.The TechnoGarden scenario depicts a world in whichcountries are highly interconnected and motivated by astrong concern for the environment—with a pro-active approach,to prevent impacts on the environment. It is a worldin which the actual concept of agriculture is transformedto include protection for environmental services. Environmentalproblems are solved and prevented by incorporatinga high degree of technology. However, as in the AdaptingMosaic, there is also an interest in improving the qualityof life of all segments of society and AKST institutionalizesthis concern in its practices. Thus, new technologies areadapted to the different social groups, but also to differentenvironmental conditions. Traditional knowledge is valued,and is used and systematized to a great extent in this scenario.Consequently, many sustainable development indicatorsimprove, although in this world an optimum solutionto the environmental problem is never found.What are the implications of these scenarios for AKSTand sustainable development policies, that could prevent thenegative situations described in them, and what possibilityis there for facilitating such action and ensuring interactionthat would foster sustainable development?In the following section there is a brief presentation ofthe implications for innovation policies and social developmentpolicies in support of vulnerable social groups undereach scenario. It is important to point out that althougheach scenario is described in the present tense, these scenariosshould not be regarded as predictions, but rather aspossible future situations.The policy implications were devised on the basis of thedifferent scenarios, but also in consideration of the currentsituation of vulnerability in each country with respect to thedifferent variables involved in them (this situation was describedat the beginning of the scenarios, in Table 3-3). Theline of reasoning followed is that even though we cannotaccurately say that the most vulnerable countries today willhave the same degree of vulnerability in future, this comparisonmakes it possible to indicate which countries havea greater or lesser probability of overcoming risks or takingadvantage of future opportunities.3.5.1 Global orchestration3.5.1.1 Implications for innovation policiesThe absence of barriers could lead to a reduction in productprices, and so productive efficiency would be very importantin this scenario. However, competition is also based onquality differentiation. According to this scenario, there is agreat diversification in the demands of end consumers, who,like the major corporations that govern this scenario, aregenerally relatively unconcerned about the environment.This is a scenario where there is tremendous competitionamong countries, based on the constant development ofnew, differentiated products through the use of technology.On the one hand, this involves risks, even for the countrieswith the greatest current capacity to generate knowledge,such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, because thegap between these countries and the developed world widens,especially in terms of investment in new technologies.The demand for product differentiation cannot be met atthe level specified in the scenario, with the current capacityof the LAC countries. To maintain this capacity at therequired levels, there would have to be a heavy investmentin R&D. For those countries that have a very limited capacityto generate know-how today, it is important to make aneffort to achieve independence in generating know-how andtechnology in this scenario.There is also a greater risk of epidemics, of the effectsof climate change and of negative impacts on environmentalsustainability, in comparison with the Life as it is scenario,for the reasons set forth below.With regard to epidemics, the countries of CentralAmerica and the Caribbean are more vulnerable (in view oftheir current capacity to prevent known and newly emergingpests). They could damage agriculture and human health, andcause important losses. The research agenda should includedevelopment of technologies to prevent and eliminate theseepidemics, or to find ways to adapt to or live with them.Policies that guarantee inclusion of environmental problemson the research agenda for the region—especially forthe megadiverse countries, such as Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia,Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela—shouldbe implemented over time, and mechanisms to inform endconsumers and make them aware of the risks to the environmentinvolved in this scenario should be established.Requirements pertaining to quality, traceability, andsafety of foods entail costs that may be too high for smallenterprises to bear. It is important to build policies and strategiesto guarantee access to low-cost technologies that enableproducers to meet these requirements.3.5.1.2 Implications for sustainable development policiesGlobal Orchestration describes a world in which knowledgeand its constant accumulation is the key factor of development.This involves a risk for more vulnerable segments of


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 161the population in the poorest countries of the region thatare importers of food and agricultural products and/or thathave a reduced capacity to offer quality education.Policies to reduce the vulnerability of these countriesand their people by reducing their dependence, primarily onfood, are extremely important. A short-term, but less recommendedalternative would be to guarantee food securityin the most vulnerable countries, which are the current foodimporters.An effort to guarantee quality education for the peoplein these countries in a consistent and lasting way would beanother way of reducing risks. It is important to also bearin mind that this effort would be facilitated in the world describedby this scenario, in which education and knowledgeare the basis for the development model.There is a large migration from rural areas, which willincrease urban poverty. Policies to offset this phenomenonwould have to be implemented, primarily in the poorestcountries.3.5.2 Order from strength3.5.2.1 Implications for innovation policiesIn this scenario, the key element is the existence of barriersand the division between groups of countries. This divisioncauses an increase in all the types of vulnerability found inLAC countries today.In a scenario of scarce resources like this one, the R&Dagenda focuses on efficiency and is governed by a businesslikeapproach, and the safety of commodities. At risk of disappearingin this scenario, generation of technologies mustfind creative forms in terms of implementation, but also toensure the conditions, i.e., financial resources and capacity,needed to develop them.In view of the weakness of R&D in the public sector,policies are needed to ensure that it is adequately maintained/restructured,in order to generate capacity in linewith national and international demand. This applies evento countries that currently have a greater capacity to generatetechnology, such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, andMexico.The poorer countries need policies for innovation andcoordination of research with extension services and technologytransfer, which make it possible to generate, adapt,and adopt technologies suitable for the most vulnerablesectors.In the case of technology transfer and extension services,greater financing as well as a restructuring of capacities, infrastructure,procedures and focal points are required. Inthis scenario, the system is in a very weak condition todayin most countries. Even the few countries that invest most inthese activities, i.e., Cuba, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru, needsome assistance to remain efficient.The research agenda for a weakened R&D system inwhich demand is diversified and problems are acute requiresa major effort to establish priorities for the allocation of scarceresources. Epidemics, the impact of climate change, andfood security are competing for these resources. This meansthat R&D must receive and act on strong, precise, leadingstrategic proposals on the areas of research to pursue.3.5.2.2 Implications for sustainable development policiesAccording to this scenario, international trade restrictionsare one of the principal factors determining the sharp declinein virtually all conditions in the LAC countries. Consequently,policies to reduce barriers to Latin Americanagriculture are needed. On a global level, policies promotingmultilateral relations would be important, as a way ofavoiding such a negative scenario, especially for the mostvulnerable countries.The division among countries and regions in this scenariocalls for regional cooperation to overcome intraregionalweaknesses in capacity and infrastructure, amongother things; thus governments should give considerationand priority to this.In view of the greater risk of epidemics, the effects ofclimate change, and environmental deterioration, specialpolicies are also required to train and assist the most vulnerablegroups to overcome the vulnerabilities prevalent in thisscenario. The Central American and Caribbean countriesare most affected by these negative influences. There are alsolosses in South America, due to climate change.As for food security, which is highly compromised inthis scenario in virtually every country, food importingcountries have the option of planning and implementingpolicies to overcome their dependence or, if this objectivecannot be attained, to establish mechanisms to assist theirmost vulnerable population segments.Education policies to facilitate access by the most vulnerablesectors also need to be implemented, as do policiesto compensate for the impact of migration and food security,mainly in the poorest countries.3.5.3 Life as it is3.5.3.1 Implications for innovation policiesIn view of trade restrictions and to make agricultural productsmore competitive, product differentiation is neededbased on innovation, but this is only presented as a strategytowards the end of this scenario.In view of the heterogeneity of the region, R&D mustalso focus on increasing efficiency, by reducing productioncosts and increasing productivity, or both, and on producinglow-cost foods for domestic consumers and low-incomecountries.Moreover, it is important to meet the technologicalneeds related to improvements in the quality of productsproduced by the most vulnerable groups in response to themore exacting demands of better educated consumers.Research is needed to adapt to and mitigate the effectsof climate change and to prevent and manage pests anddiseases, while preventing environmental deterioration, sothat production efficiency and productivity will not decline.Since the scenario is based on the current reality, the SouthAmerican countries are the ones with the greatest capacityto deal with these impacts in this area and in the future.Countries that have the greatest capacity to generateknowledge today—in South America: Argentina, Brazil,Chile; and in the Andes: Venezuela; in Central America:Mexico and Panama; and in the Caribbean: Cuba, Trinidadand Tobago—also are most likely to generate the knowledgedemanded by this scenario.


162 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportIn this scenario, many countries in the region are limitedto importing technology, in a world where productiveprocesses and trade are integrated. This means that thesecountries have a limited capacity to cope with unforeseenrisks, and are therefore more vulnerable. It is important toplan and implement mechanisms to improve their capacityto produce know-how and technology, through specificprograms or well-defined objectives, and to consider alternativesfor sharing the scarce available resources.Environmental and social issues are not adequatelytaken into account by all countries in their research activities.At the outset of the first period, a few countries includethis concern in their portfolio of R&D projects. However,this effort needs to be stepped up to enhance knowledge ofecosystems and of the impact of agriculture on them and onenvironmental services.The application of traditional knowledge is only justbeginning to be seen towards the end of the period. R&Dshould therefore be guided by proactive policies to incorporatethis knowledge in generating know-how andtechnology.Specific funds and project portfolios geared to morevulnerable population groups would be important alternativesto consider, to ensure that R&D pays attention to thesegroups. Research organizations should also acquire moreexpertise than they have today regarding the technologicaldemands of the neediest social groups whose livelihood isagriculture.Transnational companies become a relevant stakeholderin R&D, and the public sector loses ground. Integralmanagement and investment policies in public R&D needto be implemented, to ensure that not only short-term economicdemands are considered in this research. Moreover,it is important to implement proactive mechanisms to increaseparticipation of private organizations in generatingknow-how and technology in strategic economic and socialareas, when the countries do not have the capacity to do so.The technology produced must be accompanied by a transferof the capacity and knowledge needed to continue thisprocess.3.5.3.2 Implications for sustainable development policiesIn view of persistent management instability, as a result ofchanges in administration without policy continuity, stabilitymechanisms are needed in government management, toensure the continuity of long-term policies. This is particularlyimportant to ensure quality education, which requiresconsistent and sustainable policies, especially in certaincountries that are weak in this area.As a result of climate change and the increase in foodprices, some countries must implement policies to ensureaccess to quality food.For poor countries and peasant production, specific policiesare needed to assist them in incorporating sustainablepractices in their production processes.3.5.4 Adapting Mosaic3.5.4.1 Implications for innovation policiesThis scenario is based on huge climate changes and socialcrises, which governments are unable to manage withoutthe assistance and empowerment of various social groups.These changes will probably have a greater effect on SouthAmerica, because of its larger size and environmental restrictionson production of crops without irrigation, thanon Central America, due to its smaller production capacity,which will also have repercussions on food security in thecountries of this subregion.The environmental issue and the reduction of the effectsof climate change are critical to this scenario, whichseeks to achieve these objectives by using all types of availableknowledge, including biotechnology and nanotechnology,agroecology, and traditional knowledge. Thus theR&D agenda should already be oriented to these objectives.There is also a need to find ways to promote interactionand synergy among the different types of knowledge thatcan presumably bring benefits to all, in the form of reducedenvironmental risks. In LAC, countries that already have thecapacity to generate technology today (Brazil, Venezuela,Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, andPanama) and technology transfers (Cuba, Brazil, Paraguay,Peru) will possibly be in a better position to engage in thisinteraction and achieve this synergy.R&D should be directed to understanding and solvingenvironmental and climate change problems. This requiresan understanding of the interaction among ecosystems, andbetween them and the new technologies, and of the possibleinternational effects on shared natural resources.In view of the longer time required to obtain results ina scenario which requires that R&D consider all affectedgroups, where the environment imposes restrictions on theindependent development of science, and where there is aneed for more efficient use of resources, it is imperative tofocus on improving management of R&D, with the integrationof all stakeholders.3.5.4.2 Implications for sustainable development policiesAdapting Mosaic is a scenario that requires many institutionalchanges, which is strongly reflected in governance anddevelopment policies in countries. While some countries thatare generally less vulnerable today, such as Argentina, Brazil,Chile and Mexico, will have major difficulties in adaptingtheir laws, regulations, and practices to the new times,other countries will have similar problems because they donot have political stability and efficient governments. Theseare the countries with the worst problems of governanceand integrated development policies at the present time. Allof these countries should consider the possibility of designingstable policies aimed at improving environmental protection,providing greater access to quality education, andincreasing the capacity to guarantee food security to theirpeople in future.Food security and the common environmental issueare the two major sources of concern in this scenario. Forthe first, it is important to identify alternatives that will notjeopardize environmental protection but will provide thegrowing, increasingly educated, hence more demandingpopulation to have access to quality foods.The scenario offers conditions for public support tofacilitate initiatives to protect common natural resources,as part of the same environmental protection approach itfavors.


Agricultural Knowledge and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean: Plausible Scenarios for Sustainable Development | 1633.5.5 TechnoGarden3.5.5.1 Implications for innovation policiesThis scenario is triggered by a strong impact on climatechange, together with social movements initiated in Europeancountries in favor of diversification of agriculture, andgeared to protecting the environmental services of ecosystems.Societies cope with their problems by anticipating andidentifying specific technological solutions.Agricultural diversification is already beginning in themegadiverse LAC countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia,Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. But notall of these countries initially have the capacity to conductthe research needed to obtain an adequate economic returnfrom different environmental services. Brazil, Colombia,Mexico and Venezuela are in the best position to do so.Environmental protection, an understanding of ecosystemsand the environmental services they provide, thecorrection of anthropogenic aggression against nature, interactionamong the different socio-economic, cultural, andenvironmental systems, and the creation of differentiatedproducts by technological innovation (always with a low environmentalimpact), and new processes for diversificationof agriculture constitute the main items on the technologicalagenda in this scenario.This is a scenario that gives preference to the growingintegration of knowledge of all kinds, whether formal or traditional.Thus, more than in any other scenario, this worldis governed by knowledge, which at the same time stronglydrives it, leading to the development of a new understandingof the systems and their integration.It is also a world in which all social groups are coveredby R&D, while at the same time the development of newproducts and processes intensifies, as does the anticipationof problems, especially in relation to the environment. Consequently,a large capacity for management and planningof the development of know-how and technologies is alsoneeded. Here the scenario differs from Adapting Mosaic,where the issue of the speed of technological developmentis not as important.3.5.5.2 Implications for sustainable development policiesIn the world of TechnoGarden, agriculture is only one partof the agroindustrial complexes that offer differentiatedproducts based on technology as well as environmental protectionprocesses. There are no more small-scale producers,as they were displaced to the cities.This means that new institutions and institutional arrangementsneed to be created to support this new paradigm,but they are also required to monitor its benefits andrisks for society. Countries that already have the capacityto generate technology and megadiverse countries, whichare encountering environmental protection pressures andalready have relevant laws, will find it easier to adapt to thenew paradigm.Unemployment is one of the major problems in this scenario.It will have a greater impact on countries whose currentpopulation is characterized by low levels of education,such as Peru, Bolivia, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.In these countries especially, policies that will lead to thecreation of new job opportunities can be implemented, inareas such as diversification of agriculture, enterprises relatedto the new agriculture-based products, or reductionsin workload.Despite the concern over the environment, new environmentalproblems emerge, as a result of the technologicalsolutions tried out in this scenario. 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4AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean:Options for the FutureCoordinating Lead Authors:Inge Armbrecht (Colombia), Flavio Avila (Brazil)Lead Authors:Jorge Blajos (Bolivia), Patrick Lavelle (France), Dalva M. da Mota(Brazil), Lucia Pitalluga (Uruguay)Contributing Authors:Sergio Salles Filho (Brazil), Jorge Irán Vásquez (Nicaragua)Review Editors:Edelmira Pérez (Colombia), David E. Williams (USA)Key Messages4.1 Conceptual Framework 1674.2 Options for Strengthening the Impact of the AKSTSystem 1684.2.1 Diversity of AKST entities in Latin America and theCaribbean 1684.2.1.1 Integration of AKST systems 1684.2.1.2 Priority to research that supports development andsustainability goals 1704.2.1.3 Development and strengthening of agricultural programsto generate and increase the value of knowledge for localand indigenous communities 1704.2.1.4 Promotion of advances in agroecology as cutting-edgetechnology 1704.2.1.5 Redirecting new areas of research towards developmentand sustainability goals 1714.2.2 Sustainable environmental and socioeconomicdevelopment 1714.2.2.1 Emphasis on the search for more effective solutions toprevent environmental degradation 1714.2.2.2 Study and understanding of the dynamics of basic naturalresources 1724.2.2.3 Improvement of conventional systems in order to reduceand mitigate their negative environmental impacts 1734.2.2.4 Use and control of the application of newtechnologies 1734.2.2.5 Investment in AKST systems for the development oftechnological innovations to overcome healthproblems. 1734.2.2.6 Development of technologies to strengthen integrated pestmanagement 1734.2.2.7 Land distribution 1744.2.3 Climate change and bioenergy 1744.2.3.1 Research to evaluate the contribution of agricultureand livestock farming to the production of renewableenergy 1744.2.4 Biodiversity 1754.2.4.1 Development of strategies for the conservation andsustainable use of biodiversity in Latin America and theCaribbean 1754.2.4.2 Sustainability of livestock farming 1764.3 Options For Strengthening AKST Capacities 1764.3.1 Creation of institutional mechanisms for knowledge sharing 1764.3.2 Adoption of a participatory approach to research 1774.3.3 Strengthening of R&D networks 1774.3.4 Organizational models 1774.3.5 Models of Governance—strengthening and modernization ofmanagement models 1784.3.6 Interaction of AKST systems and social movements 1794.3.7 Intellectual property rights 1794.3.8 Promoting the use of models that ensure food sovereignty andstem or reverse the rural exodus 1804.3.9 Market study for establishment of a direct link between localproducers and consumers of foodstuffs in peri-urban areas 1804.3.10 Strengthening the capacities of AKST stakeholders 1814.3.11 Restructuring education curricula 1814.3.12 Evaluation of the impact of AKST systems 1824.3.13 Participation of AKST systems in the formulation of publicpolicies 182165


166 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportKey Messages1. Interaction of systems. While the great diversity ofAKST systems is a major strength in Latin Americaand the Caribbean, these systems need to interactwith each other. The interaction can be achieved throughthe generation, sharing and dissemination of experiencesand by combining and developing the knowledge inherentin the three production systems (conventional, agroecologicaland traditional) in order to overcome weaknesses andshare strengths.2. Systemic vision. Develop a systemic vision of productionsystems by combining the strengths of theagroecological, conventional and traditional approachesin assessing (in the short, medium and longterm) the results of all three in terms of cost-benefitsand in light of the goals of IAASTD, in other words, toensure environmental, social and economic sustainability.This approach considers the social, economic andenvironmental impact of the application of technologies toagricultural, forestry and livestock production, regulatoryand support environmental services and farming extensionservices.3. Prevention and environmental restoration. Poormanagement of water, soils and forests is a seriousproblem throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.The AKST systems should therefore focus urgently on prevention,conservation and environmental restoration andseek to reverse the degradation caused by intensive agriculture.One option may be to adopt technologies that helpto restore the natural capital (soil, water, etc.) while at thesame time achieving the goal of production of environmentalgoods and services.4. Recovery and conservation of traditional knowledge.Promote and intensify efforts to rescue, developand preserve ancestral knowledge by and for localand indigenous communities by empowering localcommunities and combining their know-how with agriculturalknowledge. Promote training and the generationand ownership of fresh knowledge by local producers andconsumers. Develop mechanisms for more effective organization(developed by AKST) of small- and medium-sizedproducers.5. Biodiversity. AKST systems should focus their strategieson the conservation and proper managementof biodiversity. Biodiversity, at different levels (genes, species,ecosystems and landscapes) performs ecological functions,which are the functions that produce environmentalgoods and services. Biodiversity is an important source ofopportunities for the development of new products andnew economic activities. Through proper management, it isable to respond to the growing demand for food and otherproducts in a context of economic and climatic changes.Environmental services (such as carbon sequestration, ecotourism,landscaping, or the storage and purification of water)need incentives for conserving biodiversity, beginningwith the preservation of natural habitats and the diversityof landscape ecosystems.6. Participatory approach. Promote a participatoryapproach in processes for the generation and socializationof knowledge and in the various developmentstrategies. This approach will help to reconcile the differentexpectations of the various actors, producers, researchers,officials and others.7. Research for small-scale producers. AKST systemsshould prioritize research (basic, applied, adaptive andstrategic) to meet the demands of small producers: toimprove the quality of life of local populations and topromote social and gender equality and a healthy environmentand not only to improve productivity. Withoutan understanding of the underlying environmental andsocial mechanisms that result in inequality, hunger and environmentaldegradation, it is difficult to address the rootcauses. Basic research is therefore also necessary. One optionis to promote interdisciplinary research to identify therelationships that were never established between the socioeconomicenvironment, productive landscapes, the biodiversitythat is present in these landscapes and the ecologicalfunctions that it performs.8. New institutional mechanisms for knowledge sharing.Create institutional mechanisms to promoteknowledge sharing between AKST stakeholders. Thesynthesis of knowledge and its socialization/disseminationwithin the three production systems (conventional, traditionaland agroecological) requires the use of new institutionaltools tailored to each situation. It would be particularlyuseful to institutionalize the knowledge sharingsystems used by private organizations (NGOs, foundations,etc.) and various research and development programs. Thiswould allow for the continuous training of all sectors ofsociety geared to the needs and technologies for the sustainablemanagement of resources.9. Strengthening of networks. Promote cooperationamong AKST systems in the countries of Latin Americaand the Caribbean in the sharing of knowledgeand skills. Given the limited human, financial and infrastructuralresources available at the national level, researchprograms (platforms) among AKST stakeholders must beintegrated by strengthening existing regional networks andcooperation programs. Regional networks and programsshould also extend their activities to other AKST stakeholders,since they are currently mainly restricted to public actors,particularly Nacional Agricultural Research Institutes(NARIs).10. International cooperation. Expand and strengthencooperation activities and promote joint research byAKST systems in Latin America and international centers(for example, the Consultative Group on InternationalAgricultural Research (CGIAR) and the TropicalAgricultural Research and Higher Education Center(CATIE)), national research institutes and universities,


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 167among others, in developing countries. The AKST systemsin Latin America and the Caribbean must place emphasison the development of research projects and on thetraining of personnel in centers of excellence so that theregion could reduce the current technological gap and notremain on the margins of the major technological advancesbeing made in other parts of the world. These efforts topromote cooperation must be aimed at strengthening thetechnical and scientific capacities of AKST stakeholders andthereby improve their impact on reducing poverty and hungerin the region.11. Emerging technlogies. Channel research in newfields of knowledge (biotechnologies—molecular orother—and nanotechnogies, among others) towardsthe achievement of the goals of reducing poverty,hunger, malnutrition, human health and environmentalconservation. Give priority in this process to the developmentof products based on these new technologies thatbenefit small producers (family businesses) by seeking tomaximize their social, economic and environmental impactwhile observing the precautionary principle. AKST systemsmust exploit the advantages of these emerging technologieswhile ensuring their biosecurity.12. Biosecurity. Contribute to the strengthening of nationalbiosecurity committees. AKST systems must acteffectively in the development of impact analysis and assessmentof the potential risk of the products they research toensure that their adoption would not cause problems for theenvironment or for consumers. AKST systems must ensurethe biosecurity of the results of their research programs,based on the principle of precaution.13. Organizational models. Create and/or strengthenAKST organizational models. Given the limitations of theorganizational (structural) models of the various actors thatcomprise the AKST in many countries of Latin America andthe Caribbean, one option would be to create new modelsor to strenghten the existing ones. Emphasis should beplaced on sharing experiences in the adoption of differentorganizational models by the governments of the region andAKST stakeholders that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness(while preserving democracy and equity) of theirrespective systems.14. Models of governance. Strengthen and modernizemanagement models. One of the main problems of AKSTstakeholders is the absence of models for the managementof their organizations. Since there are many successful experiencesin AKST management in the region, these experiencesshould be shared among AKST stakeholders.15. Interaction between AKST systems and the society.Promote interaction between AKST systems andconsumers, movements and social organizations.Promote structures that facilitate dialogue between themand other social actors and AKST systems. There must begreater participation by social actors in the identificationand especially in the selection of research priorities and inthe evaluation of results.16. Intellectual property. Enactment of national legislationthat recognizes collective intellectual propertyrights. National TRIPS legislation provides for the possibilityof formulating strategies within the established multilateralframework. However, legal recourses may not be themost appropriate ones for protecting the knowledge thattraditional (ethnic) communities have accumulated overcenturies and must be adapted to their new purposes.17. Teaching and training programs. Teaching curriculamay be revised to include elements of AKST. Forits part, AKST must also evolve to adapt to the transitionsin formal education (from primary school to university) andin continuing education and training programs for all membersof society. Advantage must also be taken of other typesof training and information such as the communicationsmedia, which can be associated with this effort through specialprograms. In this way, it may be possible to preservecrops and agricultural knowledge and research by and forlocal and indigenous communities.18. Inclusion of women in AKST systems. Promote increasedparticipation by women in the managementof organizational models, the generation and socializationof knowledge, and in the various developmentstrategies. The participation of women in each aspect ofAKST has increased over the past 15 years but is still verylimited, despite the increasing numbers of women in leadershippositions in both productive activities and producerassociations and organizations.19. Accountability to society. Impact studies must becarried out by AKSTs to account for investments and todemonstrate to society the importance and impact ofthe products they generate. These studies should includean analysis of all the impacts of their products (economic,social, environmental and others) together with a programto communicate their results that is geared to the variousstakeholders (actors—individual and collective—have verydifferent levels of training and access to information).20. Formulation of public policies. AKSTs shouldparticipate proactively in the formulation of publicpolicies related both to the system itself and to thepolicies supporting the system. AKST stakeholders, includingpublicly funded national agricultural research institutes,have traditionally had little real participation in thepreparation of the legal framework in which they operate(biosecurity and intellectual property legislation, financingof research and development, credit policies, etc.). Generallyspeaking, their impact on public policies is limited tosubmitting reports with the results of their research.4.1 Conceptual FrameworkFor purposes of the IAASTD, the agricultural productionsystems in Latin America have been classified as follows(Chapter 1):1. Traditional/indigenous production systems;2. Conventional/agroindustrial production systems;3. Agroecological production systems.


168 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportEach system of production is associated with a body ofknowledge, science and technology that sustains and promotesit. Together these bodies of knowledge comprise thesystem of agricultural knowledge, science and technology.However, while this store of knowledge belongs to verydifferent institutional and social systems, they are—or willhave to be—permeable and must interact with each other,and it makes no sense therefore to establish vertical limitsbetween them.Chapter 4 identifies the principal options for makingAKST work more effectively to achieve the goals of reducinghunger and poverty, improving rural living systems, improvingnutrition and human health; and promoting equitableand sustainable environmental, economic and social developmentin Latin America and the Caribbean.In terms of structure, the chapter has been divided intotwo main sections:1. Options for enhancing the impact of AKST systems.2. Options for strengthening the capacities of the Systemto generate, socialize, access and adopt AKST.The system of knowledge and the institutions and organizationsconcernid with its generation and socialization arevery separate and in most cases do not interact with eachother. None of the systems of production, in their currentstate, whether conventional, traditional or agroecological,contributes at the same time to meeting the requirements ofenvironmental sustainability and social and economic development.Thus, for example, it is evident that the conventionalsystem has negative impacts on the environment, that thetraditional system is failing to bring populations out of povertyand that agroecological systems still have not acquiredthe technological maturity that would make them acceptableand applicable under any conditions. However, Badgley andcolleagues (2007) found, in a quantitative meta-analysis,that organic agriculture could today succeed in feedingthe human population of the world (Badgley et al. 2007).The different social groups in Latin America and theCaribbean exhibit a sometimos marked separation betweenland-use methods and the AKST storehouses on which theyrely. The knowledge is generated and acquired in five maintypes of institutions that are generally separate and whichcan be completely unaware of the knowledge possessed byother types. This is the case in the institutions identified inthe diagram in Figure 4-1 in which local knowledge (disseminatedlocally within the family and social groups) hasvery few or no links at all to the conventional/agroindustrymodel (see Chapter 1) taught in universities and centers ofadvanced learning.The future development of agriculture in Latin Americawill depend on improvements in each one of the three bodiesof knowledge mentioned above and, more than anythingelse, on the incorporation into each one of them of the elementsneeded to mitigate the negative effects of each one:the negative environmental impacts of some, and the lowproductivity or incapacity of others to reduce poverty andinequality. The relations expressed in the triangle in Figure4-2 are explained by the following examples:Example 1. Pole 1 represents a system of traditional agriculturein tropical forests of Latin America and the Caribbean(clear, slash and burn), where traditional local AKST is used.The introduction of the practice of leaving land fallow andimproved with the planting of vegetables shifts this categorytowards number 1; a situation in which the availability ofgood quality forage reduces the pressure on pastureland andtherefore allows degraded areas to recover and/or the needto transform more forest into pastureland. The use of improvedvarieties and the inoculation of beneficial organisms(e.g., Rhizobium or Bacillus thurigiensis) would move themtowards pole 3.Example 2: pole 2 is an agroforestry system based on anagroeological AKST, using greenery of multi-use leguminousplants and annual crops of maize. The addition of chemicalfertilizers (e.g., P, K) to organic fertilizers in order to improvethe balance between the supply of available nutrientsand the needs of plants, use of better selected plants andcrops that trap certain pests (e.g., rows of okras betweenmaize) would take it towards pole number 2.Example 3: lastly, pole 3 is a soy monoculture based ona conventional AKST with annual plowing, fertilizing andpest control with chemical products. The abandonment ofarable land and the movement towards a system of reducedplowing and the application of organic fertilizers and plantcover move it towards pole number 2.The methodology used to identify options for improvingthe impact of the system of scientific and technologicalknowledge in agriculture was based on a double entry matrixin which each option proposed was analyzed in the contextof the sub-regions and the goals of IAASTD. The options forthe future were analyzed schematically based on the threeextreme systems of agricultural production (and the bodiesof knowledge that sustain them) (See Figure 4-1)This chapter seeks to identify the principal options formaking AKST work more effectively to achieve the goals ofsustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is thereforenecessary to seek options for: (1) improving the impactof the AKST. This section contains four parts: diversity ofAKST in Latin America and the Caribbean; sustainable environmentaland socioeconomic development; climate changeand bioenergy; and biodiversity. (2) Strengthen capacities togenerate, socialize, access and adopt AKST. The options ineach one of these two parts are presented below.4.2 Options for Strengthening the Impact ofAKST Systems4.2.1 Diversity of AKST bodies in Latin America andthe CaribbeanAKST systems must interact more and differently. This goalcould be achieved by exchanging experiences and comparingthe different types of know-how and skills in order toaddress weaknesses and share strengths. The great diversityof AKST systems in Latin America and the Caribbean is itsmain strength. One type of knowledge does not exclude theother.4.2.1.1 Integration of AKST systemsThe management options being pursued in Latin Americaand the Caribbean combine in different proportions the


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 169Figure 4-1. Relationship between production systems, types of knowledge used and institutesinvolved in its generation and dissemination. Source: Authors’ elaborationvarious types of knowledges and technologies (see Chapter1 and Figure 1-1). The conventional approach taught byuniversities and advanced technical institutes strongly advocatesagroindustry; the agroecological approach espousedby universities and some NGOs serve to create more diversesystems in terms of the production of environmental goodsand services; and the local/traditional know-how impartedby families and local social groups is based on extractionand low-input family-based agriculture. It is clear that inthe particular case of each management typology, the AKSTsystem used employs different proportions of each type ofAgroecologicalTraditionalConventionalFigure 4-2. Types of production systems in space defined bytypes of AKST (triangle) bodies used and possible trajectoriesdepending on implementation of alternative AKST systems.Source: Authors’ elaborationAKST. While projects undertaken have shown how systemsinteract with each other (FAO, http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/agll/farmspi/; Settle et al., 1996), greater effort is needed toexpand and institutionalize these initiatives.It is argued that the different systems replicate theirdrawbacks and reinforce their potential through the integrationof elements of other typologies directed always towardsthe achievement of development and sustainability goals.The option proposed therefore argues that it is necessary tobring about changes in the respective systems that bring themcloser to other systems in order to take advantage of theirstrengths and to optimize the practices of each of the threegroups identified. In an ideal world, the differences betweenlocally observed practices should not depend on access toresources and economic assets and possible access to formaleducation, but rather on how producers can adapt tothe restrictions imposed by the environment and to marketconditions.There is need for partnerships between researchers, extensionworkers, producers and producer associations forthe pursuit and sharing of research. This would be only onestep in a very complex process that requires more than partnerships.The conventional model that separates those whoconduct research from those who disseminate the results and,above all, from those who use the resulting product showedthat many of the alternative technologies generated are of littleuse, especially to traditional producers (families, indigenousgroups) (Salles Filiho and Souza, 2002; Embrapa, 2006).It is also necessary to encourage a debate on whatshould be the role of each of the agents of AKST and whichscientific, technological and innovation policies should beapplied in rural areas of Latin America. Parallel initiativesresult in wasted efforts, resources and time and do not al-


170 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportlow for the development of a common approach to dealingwith challenges that have already transcended nationalfrontiers (FAO, 2003). An ongoing training program is recommendedfor the design and implementation of scientific,technological and innovation policies. This is necessary inorder to meet the challenges of social inclusion and the newmarket demands in which protecting the environment andthe health of consumers are prerequisites (Embrapa, 2004;FAO, 2003).4.2.1.2 Priority to research that supports development andsustainability goalsAKST systems should give priority to research whose practicalresults demonstrably contribute to the goals of IAASTD,that is to say, that can point to improvements in the qualityof life of local populations, promote social and genderequality (in other words, respect for the differences betweenmen and women), a healthy environment and increasedproductivity. Basic research is essential to understanding theunderlying ecological and social mechanisms that create inequality,hunger and environmental degradation.It is clearly not possible to achieve development andsustainability goals one at a time, since the goals are all interconnected.In Amazonia, for example, the promotion ofcattle raising as the only land exploitation system can lead tosatisfactory living standards for certain groups, but the disadvantagesin terms of gender equality and equality betweensocial groups and the degradation of environmental functionsmake it unsustainable. Only a holistic vision in whichthe different goals are all considered together and the besttrade-off sought between them in the socio-economic andbiophysical conditions of the land can achieve this goal.The need for a holistic approach to research is relatedto the analysis of the relationships between the differentparts of the system on the property but also between thesocio-economic environment and the landscape created byhuman activities that tranform the natural environment. Inthe mountainous regions of Central America, for example,primary forests are being transformed into a mosaic of secondaryforests, coffee plantations, pasture land and fields ofmaize. The proportion of this type of use depends on marketconditions, means of access to land ownership and on manyother socio-economic variables. Depending on the diversityof the landscape, the degree of transformation and the intensityof use of the land, this landscape may include differentlevels of biodiversity that in turn will participate in differentways in the provision of environmental goods and services(for example, soil conservation, storage and purification ofwater, carbon sequestration or biocontrol of pests) (Mattisonand Noris, 2005). Implicit in this representation is theimprovement of human well-being with sustainable productionat a high level of environmental goods and services.It is essential to understand the relationships betweenthese different entities, identify the drivers and the thresholdimpact in relationships in order to model this system ofinteractions and improve the management of all resources,whether human, economic or ecological. For example, it isknown that transformed landscapes are capable of resistingthe invasion of (invasive) species if the proportion of thenatural ecosystem does not fall below a certain thresholdand if the trend toward more intensive land use is slowed.However, the inner workings of the mechanisms affectingthese qualities of the various agroecosystems (and variouslandscapes) are not known, although the positive role ofbiodiversity is well established (Kennedy et al., 2002).It is also necessary to prioritize the research on optionsfor increasing incomes (returns) and conserving biodiversitywith a gender perspective. Initiatives targeted to womenimprove family incomes and help realize the potential ofthe know-how accumulated by them and which is only nowbeginning to be recognized (Cavalcanti and Mota, 2002).4.2.1.3 Development and strengthening of agriculturalprograms to generate and increase the value of knowledgefor local and indigenous communitiesOf the three types of knowledge of AKST that have beenidentified, the traditional/indigenous is the least formalizedand thus the most threatened. Preservation of the culturalservices and biodiversity that this system sustains can bedone by the development and strengthening of educationalprograms, crop preservation and knowledge retention, andagricultural research by and for local and indigenous communities.This, in turn, can be achieved by empowering localcommunities and combining their know-how with agroecologicalexpertise, taking into account the fact that localand indigenous know-how is generated and disseminatedwithin small social groups (family, town, association).Rarely is this local and indigenous know-how broadlyformulated and recognized outside the local environment.This situation makes it difficult to use and develop the capacityto observe and understand the functioning of theecosystems developed by these populations (Veiga and Albaladejo,2002). Knowledge of the functions of local biodiversityand other natural resources would be very useful indeveloping agroecology that depends to a great extent onintimate knowledge of the natural conditions that are peculiarto each region/crop. This knowledge should also enrichconventional knowledge to help correct any negative environmentalimpacts of these practices without reducing theirproductivity and economic value. To this end, one promisingoption would be to put in place instruments to regulateaccess to traditional knowledge.Properly focused, traditional knowledge, science andtechnology can lead to development and social well-being.To achieve better coordination between higher educationprograms and programs in science and technology, both inresearch and in the transfer of knowledge, requires a reorganizationof academic and scientific research institutions in allareas and ending the isolation and dispersion that currentlyexists. It is necessary to strengthen educational and occupationaltraining programs that promote and respect diversityand differences and permit advantage to be taken and usemade of the positive elements of the agricultural revolutionthat is under way, while also combating and managing thecrushing force of this very revolution as we enter into a newparadigm of agricultural science and technology (Sanchez,1994).4.2.1.4 Promotion of advances in agroecology as cuttingedgetechnologyAgroecology needs incentives for it to become cutting-edgetechnology, while evaluations (short, medium and long-


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 171term) are made of its results in terms of cost benefits. Agroecologyhas the potential to efficiently reverse the trend towardsdegradation of the environment and to contribute tofood security, as it has demonstrated, despite the limited investmentand attention that it has received (CIFAA, 2006).Agroecology seeks a balance between, on the one hand,agroindustry that holds the promise of achieving the goalsof poverty reduction through the production of food andother agricultural, forestry and livestock goods and, onthe other, the maintenance of biodiversity and other environmentalservices while also pursuing the goal of socialwell-being. The basic paradigm is that the more similar theagricultural, forestry and cattle-farming ecosystems are tothe natural ecosystem the more sustainable are medium- andlong-term production and other environmental services,such as the recycling of nutrients, carbon sequestration insoils, and water percolation, detoxification, regulation andstorage (Altieri, 1995). Agroecology cannot be developedwithout the active participation of an entire social network.One possibility is therefore to introduce agroecology intoagricultural research and extension programs and in ruralschools. It is also necessary to promote internal changes inthe institutions seeking to adopt this new paradigm (Sanchez,1994; Caporal and Costabeber, 2004; Guzman, 2004;EMBRAPA, 2006). Local and regional agroecological experienceswith change must be systematized by promoting exchangesbetween different regions and between the differentsocial actors. The crisis of the agroindustry model requiresnew alternatives that are less harmful to the environmentand to producers and consumers (FAO, 2003; Caporal andCostabeber, 2004; Guzman, 2004). However, extension activitiesand the sharing of experiences are not sufficient bythemselves. Knowledge and innovation must also be furtherdeveloped with a view to mainstreaming the agroecologicalapproach into production systems (Vandermeer, 1995).In order to develop ecological production systems compatiblewith the sustainable management of natural and humanresources, a development style consistent with thesegoals must be sought. For this reason, basic research shouldalso be complemented by market research and economicstudies to both demonstrate and increase the profitabilityof agroecology (Vandermeer, 1995; Swift et al., 1996).Comprehensive studies are also needed to analyze and objectivelytest the assumptions about the low productivity ofunconventional systems (for example, organic productions(Badgley et al., 2007). Agroecology should be viewed as astrategic factor for development in Latin American countries,not only as a factor for economic development butalso as a key input in social and environmental policy. Thisrequires a series of standard-setting initiatives, institutionalreorganization and the allocation of significant economic resourcesas countries progress towards their broad objectiveof sustainable development.Most Latin American countries lack regulatory frameworksfor the implementation of an incentive system for agroecologicalproduction. It would be helpful if such frameworksincluded a review of the external factors affecting agroecologicalproduction compared with conventional production.This means that, among other things, governments shouldoffer institutional support in the form of technical assistanceto producers for production, processing and marketing; areduction in the costs of certification; and the launchingof demonstration projects that facilitate the supply of inputsand services, manage financing, promote arrangementsfor marketing and finaning of production, and help providethe equipment necessary for production (Ortiz, 2004).4.2.1.5 Redirecting new areas of research towardsdevelopment and sustainability goalsAKST systems in Latin America and the Caribbean canseek to increase their technical training in the new areas ofknowledge and those generated under the conventional system,although with a critical and cautious attitude (appliedto biotechnology, niche agriculture, nanotechnology, organicfarming). In order for advances in new technologies tobe useful in tropical conditions, they must be adapted andimproved for the particular conditions of the agroecosystems.The research priorities for these new areas should firstconsider the environmental and social development goalsand not the profit potential. Consequently, a critical evaluationis needed in order to determine whether or not reputedleading-edge technologies satisfy the goals of sustainable developmentand which sectors benefit. Conventional knowledgehas made it possible, through the Green Revolution,to fulfill urgent needs for an increase in the production offoodstuff (Wood et al., 2005), but this has not necessarilymeant greater access by the poor to food (see chapters 1and 2). This type of know-how must continue to be developedwith special emphasis on those types of research thattake particular account of the need for the development ofa multi-functional agriculture (one that provides ecologicalservices) that meets the socioeconomic and environmentalMillennium Goals. Synthesis with the agroecological approachesmentioned in the above paragraph is an essentialphase of this process.Educational systems should also promote solid ethicalprinciples. It is becoming increasingly necessary to incorporateinto educational programs a philosophical discussionof the ethical principles of justice, equality, reciprocity, autonomyand responsibility, applying them to the topic of themanagement of resources, both private and public (Hardin,1998).4.2.2 Sustainable environmental and socioeconomicdevelopment.There is currently no state policy that does not set as a prioritygoal sustainable environmental and economic development.Achieving this goal requires greater efforts in thesearch for technical solutions, a more practical knowledgeof the dynamic of soil and water resources, and urgent reformof management systems to mitigate their negative impacton the environment.4.2.2.1 Emphasis on the search for more effectivesolutions to prevent environmental degradationThe degradation caused by improper management of water,soils and forests is a serious regional problem throughoutLatin America and the Caribbean. Many unsound managementpractices have had a severe impact on natural resources(Natural Capital) and environmental services (Adis,1989; Brown, 1993; Cairns, 1994; Polcher, 1994; Brosset,1996; Neill, 1997; Rasmussen, 1998; Fearnside, 1999; El-


172 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportlingson, 2000; Tian et al., 2000; Bierregaard et al. 2001;Portela, 2001). The firm denunciation of these events hasled countries like Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil to developprograms for payment for environmental services (Calle etal., 2002), but the long-term effect of these programs arestill not known. Studies are needed on the value and impactof the environmental services provided by ecosystems andon identifying the type of human communities that sustainthem (Mattison and Norris, 2005). Such understandingwould he helpful in finding strategies for continuity (andrespect) of the lifestyles of the local populations directly associatedwith the management of native ecosystems, therebybalancing the need for rural production with environmentalconservation (Daily, 1997; Mattos et al., 2001; Bensusan,2002; MMA, 2004; Zbiden, 2005).Another priority need is for research into and disseminationof the use of secondary and other degraded or abandonedhabitats. Secondary forests, if properly managed, playan important role as providers of environmental services,protection and maintenance of biodiversity, and protectionof water sources and wood products for rural construction,manufacture of domestic utensils, medicinal and ornamentalplants, fruits, honey, fiber, oils, resins and seeds, among otherthings, (Promanejo, 2001; FLOAGRI, 2005). Comparativestudies are also needed on agricultural alternatives that donot include burning in Amazonia, since burning has a negativeimpact on the atmosphere (carbon emissions) and leadsto the loss of the nutrients retained by the biomass. Newapproaches are needed to repair the planting area which areless harmful to the environment and ensure the sustainabilityof forests, ensuring in particular that the extraction ofwood does not negatively impact the conservation of the diversityof plant varieties, or, by extension, of the ecosystem.One option being proposed for the sub-region of Amazoniais the development of a program of study, dissemination andexchange of experiences on the communal management ofthe natural resources of the Amazon in order to promotepublic policies that take account of the realities of farmers(co-management and self-management). The experience oflocal groups in close symbiosis with the forest will contributeknowledge and management styles that would ensureconservation for centuries. Moreover, the combination ofthis experience is indispensable for the development of agroecologicalpractices. Such experiences should therefore bepursued as an option for promoting conservation and socialand environmental sustainability, which are the goalsof IAASTD (Barros, 1996; Benatti, 2003; Amaral Neto,2004).4.2.2.2 Study and understanding of the dynamics of basicnatural resourcesWater, soils and the biological processes associated withbiodiversity are one of the acknowledged bases of environmentaland economic sustainability. Generally speaking,there is an urgent need throughout Latin America and theCaribbean to generate technologies for controlling the erosionand degradation of soils and these should go togetherwith the creation of more economic opportunities for smallscaleproducers, while at the same time recognizing the limitationsimposed by the low productivity of labor and thesmall size of landholdings (Dixon et al., 2001).Many studies have demonstrated the need to promotepractices that closely resemble natural ecological processesfor the management of natural resources, control of pestsand diseases (Alpizar et al., 1986; Von Maydell, 1991;Kursten, 1993; Jong, 1995; Gallina, 1996; Vohland, 1999;DeClerk, 2000), and the promotion of related biodiversity(Armbrecht et al., 2004). Given that all agroecosystemsoriginated from natural ecosystems, ecological, indigenousand traditional knowledge of agricultural systems (cattlefarming, fish farming, growing of crops) must be expandedso as to increase the impact of AKST systems in Latin Americaand the Caribbean.Studies must be undertaken and plans developed tomanage the impact of agriculture in water basins both in theAmazon and other regions. Expansion of agricultural frontiersis a reality and the use of soils for agriculture leads tochemical modifications of underground and surface waters(Markewitz et al., 2001, 2006). It is necessary to identifywhich alternatives for agricultural management and environmentalconservation minimize these impacts (Markewitzet al., 2001, 2006). In order to achieve sustainability,research and dissemination programs are needed to stabilizethe agricultural frontier, to add value to and ensure thesustainability of the resources and environmental servicesprovided by secondary forests, to restore degraded land andencourage the establishment of enterprises through communitypartnerships for the exploitation of forests and developmentof non-wood forestry products (Promanejo, 2001;FLOAGRI, 2005).Moreover, depending on the Latin American landscapein question, the management plan may be supplemented bythe introduction, development and dissemination of aquaculturetechnologies that rely on local ingredients (residues,fruits and seeds) (Mori-Pinedo,1993; Pereira-Filho, 1995)while continuing to further develop local and indigenousknowledge. Aquaculture in Amazonia is based on local particularities(use of local ingredients for fish feed, subsistenceand local know-how). The models for enhancing the efficiencyof this activity are dispersed and do not include existingproduction systems. It is necessary to explore fisheriesmanagement systems with a view to developing balancedmodels that would strengthen the capacity of local populationsto support themselves.Traditionally developed strategies are beginning to experiencea crisis because of the over-exploitation of resources.The techniques developed from local and scientific knowhow(before the former disappear) need to identify waysof restoring balance (Baltazar, 2005). In Andean regions,where intensive and extensive cattle farming is practiced inzones that are extremely vulnerable to erosion, (hillsides,inter-Andean valleys) agricultural, forestry and pastoraltechnologies need to be developed (Calle et al., 2002). Suchtechnologies would combine the herbaceous, shrub andplant strata to improve production (production of biomassstockfeed for cattle) and to expand the services provided byecosystems (Murgueitio, 2003). However, it is difficult toachieve the goals of IAASTD as long as the paradigm remainseconomic growth alone (individual enrichment) withouttaking into account external factors (environmental andsocial damage). The intensification of cattle farming shouldtherefore be avoided and emphasis placed on the generation


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 173of knowledge for incorporating agrobiodiversity and forestrybiodiversity into the production process (Blann, 2006,DeClerk et al., 2006).4.2.2.3 Improvement of conventional systems in order toreduce and mitigate their negative environmental impactsConventional systems may also be gradually transformedinto more sustainable systems with the support of theAKST. Given the demonstrably positive impacts of environmentallyfriendly production, conventional productionsystems must undergo technical changes to make them lessharmful to the environment and to the health of consumers(Fachinello, 1999).Many regions of Latin America and the Caribbean havelarge quantities of aquatic and marine resources (e.g., Caribbean,Amazonia, Andes), and what is now required isresearch into and the dissemination of models of communalmanagement of water resources. There are currently fewtechnical models for an activity that can reduce the pressureon resources at the same time as it generates income for thelocal population.For producers working lands on degraded or fragileslopes and who are not prepared to use this land for forestcover, their priority should be to promote sustainableproduction styles that can be easily adopted with limitedresources and which produce relatively quick and attractivereturns, either in terms of production or in the use oflabor (Dixon et al., 2001). Specific initiatives include: (1)the permanent production of commercial valuable crops;(2) reduced ploughing; (3) greater density of cultivation; (4)contour farming; (5) improved varieties; (6) live hedges; (7)interspersing of crops; (8) dispersed forest cover; (9) mulching(Dixon et al., 2001); and (10) management of invertebratefauna in a way that is beneficial for the soil.The benefits of these technologies and the feasibility oftheir adoption have been amply demonstrated by a series ofinnovative projects that have been undertaken throughoutthe system. However, even though such practices may leadboth to an increase in yield and to more sustainable managementof natural resources, they will have limited impact onincreasing family incomes, and unless they are incorporatedinto diversification and marketing programs, these alternativesmust be considered to be only part of the solution(Dixon et al., 2001).For those systems with high population densities inLatin America and the Caribbean, the development andimplementation of effective plans at the community levelfor the management of natural resources are extremelyimportant. These interventions should include technicalassistance and incentives for their adoption, in additionto emphasis on obtaining benefits in the short term for resourcemanagement activities, such as the management ofwater basins and forestry resources, among others (Mc-Neely and Scher, 2003). Other promising interventionsshould focus on technologies for the conservation of humidityin drier areas and for combating drought and desertification(for example, northeast Brazil and the CentralAndean region). There is also need for effective managementof water basins (Mesoamerica and northern Andes). Bothof these impacts are expected to become more widespreadas a result of global climate changes, which is why risk reductionmechanisms must be strengthened (Dixon et al.,2001).4.2.2.4 Use and control of the application of newtechnologiesAKST in Latin America and the Caribbean need to prioritizeresearch and the training of native personnel in centersof excellence in order for the region to narrow the currenttechnological gap and not remain on the margins ofthe great technological breakthroughs taking place in newareas of research (agroecology, biotechnlogy, niche agricultureand biological controllers, for example) in the developedcountries. This effort of cooperation must be directedtowards strengthening the technical and scientific capacitiesof AKST actors in the region and should address the needsand particularities of each subregion of Latin America andthe Caribbean.This development and training in the use of new technologiesshould also be geared towards achieving the goalsof IAASTD. This means that AKST systems should directtheir efforts to take greater advantage of these technologicalinnovations by placing emphasis on issues of biosecurity, forexample in genetic modification programs. The adoption ofany new technology (including GMOs) should be precededby a careful analysis of risks to health, to genetic introgressionin localities of evolutionary origin and other impactson the environment, including considering the possible prohibtionof the release of GMOs in centers of evolutionaryorigin.AKST systems should act effectively to carry out impactand potential risk assessments of the products beingresearched in order to prevent their adoption from causingproblems for the environment and for consumers. In otherwords, they should ensure the biosecurity of the results oftheir research programs.One option would be to direct efforts towards the adoptionof the precautionary principle (through AKST) to preventirreversible damage and promoting their observancethrough national, regional and international agreements.4.2.2.5 Investment in AKST systems for the developmentof technological innovations to overcome health problemsThis point refers in particular to the introduction of methodsfor the traceability and safety of foods (possible risks,nanotechnology) and methods for the control and detectionof health problems, among others. In order for investmentin AKSTs to be efficient, it is proposed to conduct researchinto the know-how of producer groups and the objectiveconditions under which they use technologies. Many traditionalprocessing techniques are unsanitary. Meanwhile,health barriers represent obstacles for small-scale producers,who lack large amounts of capital. Alternative approachesmust therefore be sought that allow for the strengths of theless strong producer groups in the agricultural economy tobe maximized (EMBRAPA, 2006).4.2.2.6 Development of technologies to strengthenintegrated pest managementPromotion of integrated pest management practices (IPM)and technologies that reduce or eliminate agrotoxins. Thedevelopment of this type of research is today common in


174 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportmany of the AKST systems in Latin America and the Caribbean,but needs further strengthening since it can leadto substantial reductions in the use of agrotoxins in fields.In order to encourage this trend, it is proposed to establishstrict rules for the use of agrotoxins, in particular forthe protection of men, women and children who work infields (Nivia, 2003). It is also necessary to combine conventionalresearch with traditional research in order to identifybiocontrollers, to develop strategies for the agroecologicalmanagement of production systems (Buck, et al., 2006) andto improve conventional systems.4.2.2.7 Land distributionAccess to land is a burning issue throughout the region. Promotingresearch and providing training in methods of distributionof productive land among social groups and theirimpact on the sustainable use of land and on poverty wouldbe of great assistance in resolving the numerous problems.More families living sustainably in the countryside leads togreater diversity of decisions and consequently to greaterdiversity of landscape, biodiversity and crops and facilitatesfood security and the exploitation of biodiversity (Monroet al., 2002; Dietsch et al., 2004). Comparative researchprojects are also needed to identify the most sustainable distributionand land-use alternatives and thereby to promotediversity in the modes of distribution and use of land anddiversity in modes of access to land and conservation of biodiversity(Almeida, 2006). This type of research could leadto policies that are more conducive to achieving the goalsof IAASTD.For production systems on agricultural frontiers, interventionpriorities include the development of a comprehensivedatabase of natural resources and their characteristicswithin the system as well as the relationship between thisinformation and planning tools together with appropriateresource management policies. This could be strengthenedthrough research partnerships in the development of cropvarieties that are adapted to the conditions of agriculturalfrontier zones (e.g., aluminum tolerance, post-harvest characteristics),and dissemination of the results. Of prime importance,however, are the legalization of land holdings andelaboration of policies that promote appropriate patterns ofland use by employing such instruments as land taxes (at theregional and municipal levels); land concessions; easy accessto investment loans and operating capital; eligibility forsupport services; and marketing, extension, and veterinaryservices, among others (Dixon et al., 2001).4.2.3 Climate change and bioenergyEnergy efficiency understood as the cost-benefit ratio, i.e.,the investment of crop energy in the agroecosystem (oraquatic system) versus the energy benefit obtained from theproduction (in Kcal) and the diversity of products (NationalResearch Council, 1989) could be considered as a basis forevaluating production systems.The oil crisis is another factor that reinforces this needfor AKST to give priority to the search for more efficientalternative energy sources, in keeping with the characteristicsof the various sub-regions of Latin America and theCaribbean. Wind and solar energy are very rarely used in theregion but have great potential in the tropics, particularly inrural areas.Combating the effects of climate change by developingalternative systems of productionRegional studies of the impact of climate change confirmthe negative effects that global warming will have on the incomesof producers, particularly small/traditional producerswho have less resources to adapt to these changes (Mendelsohnet al., 2006; SEO et al., 2006). Alternative productionsystems could be used to mitigate the negative impacts ofclimate change, since agroecological systems have greatercapacity to recover from environmental disasters (SOCLA,2007).With the help of indigenous/traditional and scientific(agroecological and conventional) knowledge, it is possibleto promote research into the use of perennial plants andagroforestry for carbon sequestration (see option 6). Effortsare also being made to promote the development of newplant varieties that adapt better to climate change, in particularto rising temperatures and to variations in the dryand rainy seasons. It is also necessary to identify more efficientmethods of water use and management of soils that arevulnerable to erosion (eg. management of plant cover, greenfertilizers, wind breaks, drainage) (Murgueitio, 2003).Latin American and Caribbean AKSTs must strengthenits links of technical and scientific cooperation in the searchfor joint solutions to mitigate the effects of climate changeon producers in the region (Lima et al., 2001). A programof research and development is needed to add value to forestryresources through innovation, commercial agreements,gradual training to take over the productive process, andinstitutional support. The latter should focus on the realityin which AKST actors operate. The use of forestry productsis irreversible and it is therefore essential to develop alternativesfor sustainable use based on empirically observed realities(FLOAGRI, 2005). The socio-economic sciences mustalso be developed to take account of environmental servicesin the evaluation of production systems (Altieri et al., 2003;Chavarria et al., 2002).4.2.3.1 Research to evaluate the contribution ofagriculture and livestock farming to the production ofrenewable energy.Agricultural production for use in fossil fuel alternatives(crops that can be used to generate energy, the conversion ofwaste from harvests, and biogas) could constitute an opportunityto revitalize primary sectors, provided that it is basedon local resources and does not endanger food security. Forthis, bioenergy (not only biofuels) should be developed forlocal use and local knowledge and general environmentalfriendlyprinciples should be disseminated at the regionaland international levels. Existing knowledge should be organizedin such programs and new studies undertaken onenergy resources based on knowledge of the flora of newtropical forests (Amazonia, rain forests, dry forests, premontane,gallery or riparian forests).As this know-how becomes better known and morewidely disseminated, it will be appreciated more and moreby Latin American communities, especially the urban population.Reforestation can be undertaken in degraded zones


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 175to produce bioenergy in already cleared areas, given that theextraction of wood to produce energy is one of the causesof deforestation (Homma, 2005). This may offer a goodopportunity to develop technologies for the recovery ofdegraded areas using local elements of biodiversity, plants,earthworms and other elements of soil fauna and microorganisms(Lavelle et al., 2006).Brazil’s new national agroenergy program, for example,offers a series of options for increasing the share of biofuelsin the national energy grid with the very active participationof AKST systems (creation of a center and of specificagroenergy research programs) and with supportive publicpolicies. This experience should be shared with the countriesof the region (although this has caused some controversy).Responsibility for ensuring equity and sustainability (relatedto the production of biofuels) has thus far been evaded (e.g.,study of cases such as that of Brazil, a world leader in theproduction of ethanol). The formation of agroindustrial cooperativesor associations of small- and medium-sized producerscould help to ensure greater equity in this sector.Extreme caution is needed and studies undertaken onthe large-scale environmental and social consequences of theproduction of agrofuels in the countries of Latin Americaand the Caribbean. A program should also be developedto organize existing know-how and experiences in the productionof bioenergy (including biofuels) in the various ecoregions.Research is needed too on the ultimate consequencesof the addiction of the current dominant development modelto gasoline and petroleum with a view to ensuring that cropsnow used for food are not converted into raw materials foragrofuels (known as biofuels, such as ethanol and diesel)and to prevent more intensive use and further expansion ofthe agricultural frontier to the detriment of the last places ofrefuge for the biodiversity of neo-tropical forests.4.2.4 BiodiversityBiodiversity is the basis of all current services provided byecosystems and the key to their sustainable use for the future.Special strategies are therefore needed to prepare inventories,expand knowledge and utilize this resource. Specialattention will be paid to its conservation in recognitionof the fact that Latin America and the Caribbean has highlevels of biodiversity with countries such as Mexico, Colombiaand Brazil among the most biodiverse in the worldbut also with the highest rates of extinction.4.2.4.1 Development of strategies for the conservation andsustainable use of biodiversity in Latin America and theCaribbeanThe development of AKST systems through agroecologicaland traditional know-how should focus on strategiesfor protecting the extensive biodiversity (both domesticatedand wild) of Latin America and the Caribbean and onthe right of the peoples of the region to have knowledge ofthem, access to them, and to use them sustainably. Biodiversityholds the greatest potential for the development ofnew products (plant breeding) and can satisfy the emergingdemand both for food (quality and quantity) and for otherproducts. There is need for management of a common researchsystem and for the comparing of experiences in orderto promote the regulation of and greater access to traditionalknowledge.Traditional knowledge has sometimes been used by thedifferent actors for economic ends while the population atlarge receives no reward of any sort (Santilli, 2002; Limaand Bensunsan, 2003). It is necessary to work towards theelaboration of precise and up-to-date inventories of biodiversity,to establish reference databases and to train peoplein Latin America and the Caribbean in these fields. Thisknowledge will enable the region to assess the impact ofpublic policies in this area and also the impact of differenttypes of land and landscape use on biodiversity. Manybiodiversity crops cultivated by small-scale producers havesignificant potential to capture international niche markets.The evidence suggests that there could be substantial valueaddedif products such as alpaca and llama wool, quinine,specialized varieties of potato and others are introduced intothese markets, especially if there are possibilities of havinglabels or denominations of origin. The negotiation of equitablecommercial agreements can also create opportunitiesfor increasing incomes, although its scope is limited.Diversification aimed at supplying demand in exportmarkets will require improved organization on the part ofproducers in order to ensure coordination and the fulfilmentof the quotas required for export shipments, as wellas efficient mechanisms for the supply of inputs (includingfinancing). Technical assistance to ensure adequate qualitycontrol, the development of adequate post-harvest handlingand packaging, and the creation of effective marketingchains will also be indispensable (Dixon et al., 2001).The options also include expanding knowledge ofhydro-ecology and water dynamics, especially in the Caribbean,coastal areas and rivers. The countries of South Americaneed a multidisciplinary approach to the management oftheir resources, based fundamentally on the integrated managementof water basins, multiple use of water resources,recovery of waste water, and protection of fragile zones thatare important for the conservation of water resources, suchas wetlands and slopes. Urgently needed also are adequatelegal and programmatic frameworks, such as national waterresources policies, national water legislation and plans forthe use and conservation of water resources.Inadequate knowledge of the state of water resourcesis one of the impediments to effective management of theseresources. However, the increase in conflicts arising fromthe scarcity of this resource, as a result of natural disasters,unregulated use and pollution, has sparked interest in thissector which is so important for national development. Elementsof conventional knowledge must therefore be incorporatedin order to restore diversity, integrity and productivecapacity to water systems (DeClerk et al., 2006). Elementsof agroecological knowledge (DeClerk et al., 2006) and traditionalknow-how must also be incorporated to restore diversity,integrity and the productive capacity of soils. At thesame time, an inventory of local know-how is needed as away of protecting such knowledge (Shiva, 2000).Marketing channels for biodiversity products need to beidentified. The extensive biodiversity of sub-regions such asthe Andes, Amazonia, Mexico, and Central America, amongothers, and access to these resources is a strategic factor that


176 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportcannot only be translated into value added but also intoeasy and preferential access to generic technologies. Thechallenge is to elaborate legal frameworks and to developappropriate institutions for the commercial exploitation ofbiodiversity products. There are significant opportunities inthis sector, since the international markets for biodiversityproducts and services are fast expanding. Many developingcountries could benefit from the expansion of the market forbiodiversity products and services and exploit the potentialvalue of biodiversity. This is only true if biodiversity is protected,since it can easily become a non-renewable resourceif there are threats, extinctions and vulnerabilities.Another option is the development of technologiesincorporating local knowledge for the conservation andsustainable use of biodiversity (combining traditional andagroecological know-how). The region has great potentialbased on its natural riches, especially in its biodiversity.Many plant and animal species are native to the region andcan form the basis of poverty reduction strategies. Biotechnologyand other niches offer opportunities for improvingagricultural productivity without increasing the use of agriculturalinputs. A key element of this strategy is to ensurethe participation of producers and the identification andpursuit of opportunities throughout the food chain.In order to succeed in the options described abovethere must be an inventory and study of local and regionalbiodiversity (conservation and sustainable use and relatedknow-how). The study on biodiversity must be carried outin close association with the taxonomy, evolution, biogeographyand ecology, but on its own terms from which it ishoped that new paradigms will emerge (IAVH, 2006). Themost notable lines of work are related to the role of biodiversityin organisms, the structure and functioning of ecosystems,their value to and use by man, and their inventoryand monitoring. It is important that the value enhancement,monitoring and inventory of biodiversity, including the wayin which inventories are carried out, are all done under commonresearch guidelines that ensure that the compilation ofdata is standardized. The aim is to arrive at estimates thatallow for comparisons of critical sites for protection, identificationof key and indicative species, improvement of theprocedures used in the exploitation of resources, and evaluationof production systems that have higher yields and lessimpact on biodiversity.4.2.4.2 Sustainability of livestock farmingIt is necessary to identify and disseminate options for sustainableand productive livestock farming in Latin Americaand the Caribbean, such as forestry and pasture landsystems, protein banks that use various plant species as asource of energy and of protein for cattle (in other words,use of diverse landscape elements, such as tree barriers,significant shrub and tree biomass), protection of basins,and recycling of excreta in order to mitigate harmful orcatrostrophic effects on soils and water. Depending on thetype of biomass or ecosystem (since in Latin America thereare savannahs, gallery forests, wetlands, foothills, the Brazilian“cerrado” and even the Andean high plateau which,with global warming, are now being used for cattle farming),the AKST should carry out research into and implementecological principles to maximize sustainability andproduction. Know-how (local but also the imported variety)and technologies are needed to stabilize agriculture and preservenatural assets.Environmental management in areas where livestockfarming is practised leads to the unregulated occupation ofland that is restored as a result of the creation of conservationunits in regions of low agricultural potential, whichcould make the land resource more expensive and stimulateinvestment to increase productivity in areas already open ordegraded in hopes of improving the environmental managementof private land (Arima et al., 2005). In sum, whenland used for livestock farming is degraded, the inhabitantsleave and the land remains degraded. The aim is therefore toreverse the trend so that the land becomes sustainable andthe population remains.On the other hand, it is also necessary to develop criteriafor the allocation of financial resources in accordancewith the rate of compliance with environmental regulations(Arima et al., 2005) (policy in support of AKST systems).The creation of options in the livestock sector requirestechnical solutions to increase efficiency in terms of headof cattle per hectare and improve the quality of livestockwithout degrading the soils, water or biodiversity. This optionmay limit the expansion of cattle farming in woodedareas (FLOAGRI, 2005), but the harmful effects of intensivelivestock farming models will not be mitigated if decisiveand comprehensive acion is not taken to achieve the goalsof IAASTD.4.3 Options for Strengthening AKSTCapacitiesAKST capacities can be strengthened by creating new institutionalmechanisms, promoting participatory research,and strengthening existing institutions, provided that theyrevise their teaching curricula. Special emphasis should beplaced on the issues of property rights and gender equality.4.3.1 Creation of institutional mechanisms forknowledge sharingThe synthesis of know-how and its sharing/disseminationwithin the three models identified (Figure 4-1: conventional,traditional and agroecological) require the use of new institutionaltools that are appropriate to each context. Projectsdesigned to promote knowledge sharing have proven to beeffective in many cases. This sharing has led to significanttechnological improvements with positive effects on thewell-being of the participants and to improvements in theenvironment. However, in some cases the same initiativescan promote the spread of inappropriate and even dangeroustechnologies and management practices (for example,use of the pesticide Chlordecone, which is banned in Europebut still used in some Caribbean islands (see http://www.minefi.gouv.fr/dgccrf/03publications/actualitesccrf/chlordecone).Thus far there is no legal or institutional tool to regulatesuch practices.A great variety of groups have engaged in knowledgesharing initiatives, but their different and uncoordinatedforms of organization and their excessive dependence on afew people acting as leaders are a source of weakness andprevent their spread. There is also the problem of the lackof continuity of these initiatives. In order to redress this


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 177situation, one option would be to introduce an institutionalmodel that gives these initiatives greater visibility, connectivityand sustainability, while providing stable funding andmonitoring the quality of the proposed activities and thecompetence of participants. An institution that is standardizedat the national or regional level, based on the modelof the primary or secondary school, with branches in allmunicipalities, can accomplish these goals.4.3.2 Adoption of a participatory approach toresearchMainstreaming the participatory approach to systems (styles)of research requires the participation of different actors inthe research activities. This is so in order to incorporate localknowledge in combination with scientific knowledge andto seek alternative and common solutions to the problemsof producers. This will ensure that producers resolve theirown problems, master new technologies and increase theirknowledge and awareness of the problems currently beingfaced (Schmitz and Mota, 2006). To this end, different participatorymethodologies and tools (GTZ, CIAT, ASPTA,among others) that have produced good results in differentcountries should be used. The use of participatory methodologiesin research and extension projects has proven to beof great use both for the potential to recover local knowhowand for the acquisition of new knowledge, generated inconjunction with scientists. The adoption of technology canthen be done much faster and more efficiently (EMBRAPA,2006; Pérez, et al. 2001).This means that, for example, greater use will be madeof participatory approaches in such areas as the selectionof plant varieties and in field tests for new crops that havepotential for diversification. Achieving this goal will requiresignificant restructuring of the national research institutionsin many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean toput greater emphasis on disbursement mechanisms for researchfunding and on the training of personnel in participatorymethods. The response capacity of research systemsmust be expanded to meet the demands of the market andwhile hybrid genetic material might be acceptable for use indiversification initiatives, material that can be replicated onfarms is likely to be required for traditional crops (Dixon etal., 2001).4.3.3 Strengthening of R&D networksThe creation of specialized networks in certain sectors orcultivation of specific crops may be another option forstrengthening interaction between countries of the regionand between knowledge systems. The creation of networksrequires training and the generation of knowledge by thedirect participants, namely local producers and consumers,and the establishment of mechanisms for the organization(generated by AKST systems) of small- and medium-sizedproducers.There currently already exists within the internationalscientific community and among donors a recognition thatboth organized actors and research centers should developprojects that are more directly geared to the generation oftechnologies and products that contribute to the reductionof poverty, with priorities being subject to change (CGIAR,2003). Networks must also be established to protect anddisseminate innovations that benefit rural populations inaccordance with their local conditions and which help toinstitutionalize knowledge sharing arrangements (Durston,2002).Regional and above all subregional cooperation, whereplanting, soil and climate conditions are more roughly similar,should be significantly strengthened. Knowledge sharingshould also be encouraged between other actors in subregionaland national innovation systems, in addition to NA-RIs such as universities, NGOs, cooperatives and producerand private sector associations (Bisang et al., 2000).A recent report on agricultural research and developmentcooperation programs in Latin America and the Caribbeanclearly points to a lack of coordination betweenregional initiatives and the need for the organization ofsimilar networks and governance structures for researchand development and innovation activities. Cooperativeprograms, such as Procis (PROCITROPICO, PROCISUR,PROCIANDINO, PROCICARIBE; see option 15 under KeyIssues) are increasingly concerned with the organization ofresearch networks and partnerships (FORAGRO, 2006;Salles-Filho, 2006).The evaluation of these programs implemented at variouslevels (Evenson y Cruz, 1989; Cruz y Avila, 1992; Avilaet al., 2005; Salles-Filho et al., 2006a,b,c) shows that cooperationhas resulted in a great deal of spill-over betweencountries. In other words, neighbouring countries benefitfrom research undertaken on the other side of the frontier.Evaluations have also shown that these programs need tobe evaluated, restructured and extended to other actors sothat they could more effectively fulfil their other objectives(Salles et al., 2006abc).4.3.4 Organizational modelsCurrently the main challenge in nearly all Latin Americancountries is to build and strenghten their institutional capacitiesin order to promote the development of their AKST.While many countries of the region have made significantefforts to modernize the State, in terms of the first and secondgeneration of reforms, 23 the results were incomplete—particularly those of the second generation—and were notpart of a coherent set of policies that could help to developthe capacity to create the minimum conditions necessary forthe development of AKST in the region. Actors in the system,especially those in the public sector, on the whole suffermore from the absence or unpredictability of the flow of financialresources, the centralization with limited autonomyof centers/stations, deficiencies, low wages and rotation ofqualified personnel and the lack of administrative and financialflexibility (Bisang et al., 2000).These problems are closely linked to the organizational23Initially in the so-called first generation of reforms theemphasis was placed on the objective of deregulation andwaste reduction, the size of the state and its intervention inthe economy. These reforms were carried out in the late 1980sand early 1990s (as one of the main pillars of the so-calledWashington consensus). Later, in the second generation ofreforms, emphasis was placed on building the capacity of thestate.


178 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportmodels adopted by AKST stakeholders in the region wherethe most diverse models of organization coexist. When oneanalyzes the various stakeholders in this system, the differencesare more substantial in the public sector where traditionalnational research or agricultural technology institutesexist (NARI in Chile, INTA in Argentina, INIAP in Ecuador,INIEA in Peru, and INIFAP in Mexico, among others)and agricultural research departments that are directlyconnected to Ministries of Agriculture (such as the DIA inParaguay), alongside institutes or organizations with publicfunding but governed by private law (EMPRAPA in Brazil,NARI in Uruguay and CORPOICA in Colombia, for example)and private foundations, such as PROINPA in Boliviawhich participates in the AKST system without dependingon public funding. The latter, in comparison to NARIs anddepartments, have much more flexibility to manage theirhuman and financial resources.These public stakeholders in AKST systems use basicallytwo research models: (1) the diffuse model, in whichresearch is conducted by research centers or stations thatcover the most distinctive products (the majority of NARIs),and (2) the concentrated model, in which the centers areconcentrated in a few products, ecosystems or priority issues(EMBRAPA in Brazil). According to Alves (1985), the use ofthe diffuse model, which is very common in Latin Americaand the Caribbean, generates a great deal of informationand is unlikely to be concentrated in new technologies andfor this reason is a costly process that is feasible only in arich society whose producers have high levels of educationand which is prepared to invest large amounts in agriculturalresearch. Developing countries, such as those in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, generally do not have the essentialinputs for the functioning of that model, but perhapsmay be able to develop it.Salles Filho et al. (2006) found that a number of countrieshave introduced institutional innovations into theiragricultural research systems, which may serve as modelsfor Latin America and the Caribbean. The study by Janssen(2002), with five industrialized countries, shows the diversityof the initiatives and the area of influence of changes,which have produced significant impacts on the financingand organization of research. One of the author’s conclusionswas that “the new research systems reflect the newconditions that society is imposing on agriculture, scienceand public sector management”.In sum, the strengthening of AKST systems in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, particularly in the public sector,requires a review of its models of organization to improvetheir efficiency, flexibility and focus and thereby increasetheir impacts on society. In this process, it is important to reviewthe experiences of the region with differentiated levelsof success and to adapt them to the situation of each country.These considerations should not contradict the modelsof participatory research described in section 4.3.2 and inKey Issues (Option 6).4.3.5 Governance models: Strengthening andmodernization of management modelsFrom Chapter 2 (section 2.5.30—Management of the AKSTsystem) we know that management of the system has becomecomplex, particularly since it has been recognizedthat innovation comes from processes of interaction amongsocial actors. In other words, there has been progress towardsa contextual process of innovation, which implies asignificant change in the rules of the game and structuresof governance, thereby also increasing the vulnerability oftraditional institutions.The general tendency of national systems of innovation—andin particular AKST systems in Latin America andthe Caribbean—to involve many different agents and organizationswho exchange knowledge and cooperate in orderto generate it, makes knowledge networks the new configurationsof socioeconomic activity that address the need forinteraction as a key factor in the generation and circulationof knowledge. These networks develop into subsystemsof the national system of innovation, in other words, intospecialized systems within the main system (Pittaluga et al.,2005).The interactions between the agents in the network emphasizethe relationships between users and producers ofknowledge and innovations. These networks are the resultof the efforts of agents to selectively internalize the variousfactors necessary to control the collective process of AKST(such as external factors). The simultaneous development ofproviders and users of AKST and their ongoing and coordinatedinteraction therefore further stimulate their activityand create a kind of virtuous circle for technological change(Pittaluga et al., 2005).There are a number of successful examples in the regionwhere AKST activities have been reorganized guided by thegeneral idea of knowledge sharing or network formation.Research institutions have pursued cooperation to take advantageof knowledge sharing and complementarity of skillsand other assets, and to emphasize the approach of demanddrivenresearch. Efforts have also been made to strengthenrelations among universities, industries and the public ingeneral (Salles Filho et al., 1998).These institutional reorganizations require novel formsof governance, in other words decision-making methodsand approaches to common problems in which the variousactors participate. The idea of the network suggests the wayin which a variety of actors situated in a labyrinth of publicand private organizations with interest in a particularpolicy connect with each other. The actors in the networkshare ideas and resources and work out possible solutionsto public problems. Connections are thus made that blurthe distinctions between the state and society, and it is thenetwork that merges the public and private.It will also be necessary to establish a new form of governancein the system of Procis (cooperative technology andinnovation research programs). These programs representimportant cooperation arrangements that still lack a new direction,more particularly in the sense of giving direction notonly to researchers from participating countries, but also toother actors so that progress could extend beyond scientificand technological exchange (Salles-Filho, 2006). In addition,there is an increasing need to coordinate research anddevelopment activities and innovation at the regional andsubregional levels through the organization of networks andother governance structures.


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 1794.3.6 Interaction of AKST and social movementsIt is necessary that the AKST systems research social andpeasant movements and development of structures to promotedialogue between them and other social actors andAKSTs. Determine through research why social movementshave succeeded in having a recognizably positive impact onIAASTD goals. One way to ensure interaction with socialmovements is to establish a framework for research on thesepeasant and social movements and the ways in which theyrelate to other actors, while always emphasizing their importanceand potential for bringing about improvements inquality of life, environmental sustainability and conservationof biodiversity. Studies of this type (also involving theactors themselves based on a bottom-up approach) revealthe impact of the democratization of access to land on thequality of life of producers and consumers.4.3.7 Intellectual property rights (IPR)The issue of ownership of knowledge generated in underdevelopedcountries is currently at the center of an extremelypolarized debate on technology and development. A numberof options have been proposed to guarantee such ownership.The result of the generalization and implementationof the TRIPS 24 Agreement of the World Trade Organization(WTO) is a global system in which IPRs will becomeincreasingly strict. Another school of thought holds thatthere is room for national strategies within this multilateralframework (PNUD, 2001).This will require legislation using all the available resourcesprovided for in the Agreement. Many governmentshave begun to draft their own legislation, while at the sametime protecting the rights of farmers and of the patent holderas a means of promoting technological research and developmenton the one hand and agricultural productivity andbiological diversity on the other (FAO, 2000).Those countries that have the advantages of solid agriculturalstructures and abundant biological diversity asa support for their national economy, in particular, shouldprotect their farmers and rural communities through specificrights adapted to the particularities of the issue in question.The TRIPS Agreement offers sufficient freedom of action toestablish a system for the protection of new plant varietiesthat encompasses protection of the knowledge and practicesof farmers and communities (FAO, 2000). 2524Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights.25The norms of the TRIPS Agreement allow countries not topatent higher-level plant or animal organisms or essentiallybiological processes for the production of plants and animals.Signatories are generally required to protect micro-organismsand non-biological or micro-biological processes throughpatents. Countries must also protect plant varieties by meansof patents, through an effective sui generis system or throughany combination of both. The provisions of the TRIPS Agreementon patents are not always appropriate for protectingliving material or related products. A sui generis system canoffer greater flexibility when a legal framework for protectionis developed.The Biodiversity Convention, signed in Rio de Janeiroin 1992, recognizes that patents and other intellectual propertyrights may have an influence on the implementationof the Convention, 26 and therefore provides that the parties“. . . shall cooperate in this regard subject to national legislationand international law in order to ensure that such rightsare supportive of and do not run counter to its objectives”(Article 16-5).Since then some progress has been made on this issue,although the interests at stake are very important. Withinthe framework of multilateral negotiations, a group of developingcountries with a mandate from the Doha MinisterialConference of the WTO has pushed for an amendmentto the TRIPS Agreement that would provide for three conditionsto be attached to requests for patents related to biologicalresources and traditional knowledge: revelation ofthe country of origin or source; proof of prior informed consent;and evidence of a fair agreement for the distribution ofbenefits, in accordance with national laws. The industrializedcountries and the major industries have rejected theseproposals in the WTO. As a result, numerous objectionsare raised in the negotiations on access and profit sharingwithin the framework of the Biodiversity Convention eachtime that the developing countries insist that the parties fulfiltheir responsibility to ensure that the protection of propertyrights does not run counter to the objectives of the BiodiversityConvention (Yoke Ling and Shashikant, 2006).The adoption by FAO of the International Treaty onPhytogenetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in November2001 marked an important step forward in this field.The Treaty covers all of the most important phytogeneticresources for food and agriculture and is consistent with theBiodiversity Convention. Under the Treaty, countries agreeto establish an effective, efficient and transparent multilateralsystem to facilitate access to phytogenetic resources forfood and agriculture and to share benefits in a fair and equitablemanner. The Treaty’s monitoring body, comprised ofthe countries that have ratified it, establishes the conditionsfor access to resources and distribution of benefits in accordancewith the “Agreement on the Transfer of Material”.In their national legislation, more and more countrieshave been adopting laws to ensure that the protectionof intellectual property rights does not run counterto the provisions of the Biodiversity Convention. CostaRica, for example, has adopted a Biodiversity Law thatrequires decisions taken to protect biodiversity-related intellectualproperty rights to be compatible with the objectivesof this law. The state also grants protection through,inter alia, patents, trade secrets, recognition of the rights26The objectives of the Biodiversity Convention are: “theconservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of itscomponents and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefitsarising out of the utilization of genetic resources, includingby appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriatetransfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rightsover those resources and to technologies, and by appropriatefunding.” (Art.1)


180 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Reportof a party that improves a plant variety, sui generis communityintellectual rights, trademarks and farmers’ rights.But legal channels may not be the most appropriate wayof protecting the knowledge about their habitat that ethniccommunities have accumulated over centuries, since theseare the result of a social construct. The system of patents invitesclaims on the indigenous and community innovationsof developing countries, thereby making them vulnerable toformal representation and patenting by others. To claim, useand defend patents is easier for private industry than forinstitutes and innovative communities.The above creates a situation in which the knowledgeof traditional communities is increasingly being used forcommercial purposes in such sectors as pharmaceuticalsand agriculture. Technological developments based on thisknowledge have produced a marked increase in the supply ofcrops of food products and new products related to health,among other uses. These developments were producedwithout the generators and owners receiving any benefitsfrom their property (Santilli, 2002; Lima and Bensunsan,2003). The idea of protecting this knowledge is gainingground. However, many proposals made to protect traditionalknowledge have failed. Indeed, two institutional andcultural systems clash in the exchange of traditional ethnicknowledge. One is the system of commercial exchange ofknowledge in which privately owned (tangible and intangibleproperty) institutions are created and maintained withina legal framework. This system has relatively transparentinformation mechanisms and operates at a global level. Theother is the system of local community knowledge in whichownership of the knowledge is undefined or collective.In the last two decades, transnational corporations, academicinstitutions and independent research laboratorieshave patented indigenous knowledge or have reached agreementswith ethnic groups. Various normative frameworkshave been suggested. In all of these, there are compensationsfor the group that include the construction of health or educationcenters, or the preparation of brochures to educatethe public about these practices and their origin. Occasionally,these contracts provide for the group to have a right toshare in the benefits of products derived from their knowhow,but these payments have not actually been disbursedin any known case (Zerda-Sarmiento and Forero Pineda,2002).The proposals put forward by authors and NGOs havetended mostly to recognize collective intellectual propertyrights. Some include the idea of creating an internationalfund to collect and redistribute the income derived from indigenousknow-how. The creation of a regional forum consistingof representatives of indigenous communities fromdifferent countries would be necessary for elaborating aconsensus agreement to regulate bioprospecting and the useof indigenous know-how. This agreement could provide foralternative models of framework negotiations and enforcementmechanisms to regulate transfers of traditional knowhowfrom these communities to transnational corporations,research laboratories and universities. This frameworkagreement should establish a balance between preservationand the development of systems of community knowledgeand its use by science and the market.Negotiations may be difficult because, despite the existenceof cultural hybrids, ethnic groups are not accustomedto thinking in terms of profits or sharing in benefits.A participatory approach to research achieved through theestablishment of local research foundations dedicated to thepreservation of knowledge and indigenous culture may beone solution. Indigenous groups should participate in theresearch and documentation of their knowledge, history andoral culture (idem.).Another of the priorities would be higher educationand scientific research programs based on traditional knowhowand which offer training and research opportunities tomembers of their own communities, which would ensureknowledge sharing. Support is also needed in the internationaldebate in national and international forums on thequestion of protection of the traditional knowledge of geneticresources (Bayão and Bensunsan, 2003).4.3.8 Promoting the use of models that guaranteefood sovereignty and stem or reverse the ruralexodusThe strengthening of organizational know-how throughAKST systems is proposed so that small-scale producers, localfishermen and indigenous peoples would have adequateand equitable access to land, water, genetic resources andother resources necessary for sustainable food production.There is also need for the promotion of family and communityagroecological models both in practice and throughpolicies, and for research and development to guaranteefood security, especially in those sectors that are most vulnerableto hunger and malnutrition, through sustainablemanagement of local agroecosystems for the production offood intended mainly for local markets.One option proposed for the sustainable exploitationof water systems is research into methods for conservingand adding value to fish and other fresh products in orderto facilitate their distribution. Many Amazonian, Andeanor plain populations encounter problems in transportingquality fresh products to local markets. Serious studies areneeded on the quality of the diet of foods traditionally consumedand which risk being substituted by the adoptionof new food habits. Studies should also be carried out onthe diversity of diet, especially in rural areas, since ease ofaccess to processed foods is causing changes in habits andincreased consumption of fats and sugars (e.g., bottled softdrinks) (Maluf, 2004; Maluf et al., 2004).4.3.9 Market study for the establishment of a directlink between local producers and consumers offoodstuffs in peri-urban areasIn order for this proposal to succeed, research is needed intomarketing systems to identify local and regional particularitiesand to provide updated information to farmers and theirrepresentatives. A large part of the problems of farmers liesin poor marketing of their products (Dürr, 2002a,b). Similarly,the agenda of AKST systems must include researchand dissemination of studies on an integral approach to theproductive chain in the territory in question. Business opportunitiescould therefore be identified for the various segmentsof the rural space (Santana, 2002).Associated with the above option are proposals forthe development of know-how for peri-urban agriculture.


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 181Urban agriculture is characterized by the dynamic use itmakes of land (Companioni, 2001; Luc, 2006), and itsrapid adaptation to the growth and development of the city.It suffers, however, from a problem of image and is rarelyrecognized as a valid form of use of urban land. By combiningurban agricultural production systems with open urbanspace, it is possible to identify areas in which urban agricultureis more stable (such as right of ways and “non-buildable”land) as well as areas in which it may be temporary(for example, zones for future building). The restricted areasin the center of cities could benefit from more intensive andgenerally more profitable activities, such as the productionof mushrooms, silkworms or medicinal plants. Sites exposedto pollutants could be used for decorative plants insteadof risking health by the cultivation and sale of plants forconsumption.Assigning areas within or on the periphery of cities forthe exclusive and permanent use of urban agricultura isquite unrealistic and may be doomed to failure in certaincountries. Firstly, it ignores the economic reality of the priceof land in growing cities. Secondly, and more importantly, itfails to take into account the interactions which urban agriculturemay have (and should have if it is to succeed) withother urban activities. If the municipal authorities involvea broader base of stakeholders, they would have more possibilitiesfor developing policies that cover the needs bothof the city and of their voters, particularly in the poor anddisadvantaged sectors. Moreover, more equitable decisionmakingpromotes participation and acceptance by citizens atall levels. As part of any political initiative for development,structures and processes must be established to identifyproblems, prioritize actions and undertake and implementactivities for the monitoring of programs.Workers in the urban agricultural sector and poor producersin particular cannot work as effectively as they mighthave, unless they are organized and their legitimacy recognized.Municipalities would clearly benefit from a better organizationand representation of urban producers in localpolitical decision-making processes.4.3.10 strengthening the capacities of AKSTstakeholdersAKST actors in Latin America and the Caribbean are extremelydiverse, which makes it extraordinarily complex togeneralize for the region as a whole (see section on EthnicGroups in Chapter 1). The conceptual principle for seekingoptions for the future is respect, tolerance and valuingcultural diversity, which are a region’s human capital. Thediversity of ethnic groups is one of the conditions that makeit possible to integrate the various types of knowledge sothat they could contribute to achieving the goals of sustainability,quality of life and equity.4.3.11 Restructuring education curriculaAt the same time, while strengthening institutions that promotethe sharing and synthesis of knowledge (see 4.3.1),it is necessary at the same time to propose changes in thecurricula of all educational institutions at different levelsto ensure that they accomplish the goal of teaching skillsthat are clearly aimed at improving the quality of life andpromoting environmental and economic sustainability. Thereports clearly show how inadequate current systems are tothe changing needs of agricultural, forestry and livestockfarming activities. This concern is part of a global movementbegun since the early 1990s by the United Nations.The Jomtien Conference organized by the United Nationsin 1990 established a series of principles to guide the designand development of systems for lifelong learning, andstressed the importance of replacing the current approachto teaching which is based on passive learning substitutionwith an approach that is based both on knowledge and onlogical and rational analysis (thinking). It also recognizedthat education is the responsibility of all concerned and notonly of states. Five types of institutions are considered here:(1) local information obtained by the family, social groups,and the communications media; (2) primary school wherechildren are taught the basic skills to enable them to perceiveand evaluate their natural and social environment; (3)secondary school where the cognitive, scientific and technologicalfoundations are introduced through scientific programs;(4) universities that generate, evaluate and disseminatevarious types of technological knowledge defined asconventional or agroecological; and (5) the numerous initiativespromoted by NGOs, universities and other actors.Local information educational programs in the mediaThis type of informal information is probably the most difficultto change because it includes local (experiences of neighboringproducers), regional (discussions with merchants,local authorities, extension workers) and national (informationthrough regional and national media) information.One way to improve it is to propose adequate educationalprograms directed to all actors for them to present in an accessibleand synthetic way the different types of knowledgeand to take advantage of information technology.Primary schoolPrimary school has to provide the minimum foundationsfor awakening a sensibility for the fragility of the environmentand the need to use natural resources in a sustainablemanner. To that end, simple lessons should be taughtabout soils (how it is formed, its dynamics, life and functions),biodiversity (what it is and what it means for ourown survival), agriculture and food (how it is obtained, theproblem of producing it for a growing population, types ofagriculture).Secondary schoolAdolescents can be taught to better understand and to valuethe contributions of the three main types of knowledge thatsustain agricultural production. It is urgently necessary tostrengthen the teaching of ecology at all levels, introducingthe subject of ecosystems and the environmental servicesthey provide, with special emphasis on soils and biodiversity,so that students understand the mutual dependence betweensociety and nature. Greater emphasis should also be placedon the subjects of genetics, plant physiology, economics, socialand community organization, and other subjects thatwould help students to understand the strengths and problemsof conventional agroindustries and other emergingmodels of agriculture. The description and history of indigenouslifestyles and technologies should also be taught.


182 | Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ReportSystems of higher educationInitiatives to develop agroecology curricula are multiplyingthroughout Latin America. In order to strengthen their impact,the creation of a regional system for the coordinationof these curricula is necessary and can play a useful role.The content of the curricula is based on the paradigms ofecology and their application to agroecosystems, considerationof the sustainability of the ecological functions thatproduce environmental goods and services (production,storage of water, carbon sequestration, conservation of soilbiodiversity). Curricula should include a synthetic presentationof other systems of knowledge, explaining their goals,restrictions, strengths, weaknesses and prospects for developmentin the medium and long-term. It is also necessary toconsider the teaching of techniques of communication andpedagogy that would permit efficient exchanges of knowledgewhen studies, experiments or development activitiesare carried out in this field.Agricultural and related sciencesUniversities and technical institutes that teach intensive agriculturalmethods have already begun to include in theircurricula certain elements of ecology, agroecology and highyieldbut more environmentally friendly models of production.The evolution towards systems with better environmentaland social impacts could be achieved by strengtheningthe presentation of traditional and ecological knowledge inorder to integrate them into a systemic way of thinking. Thepedagogical tools themselves would permit the communicationand transmittal of the basic knowledge.Cross-cutting issuesCertain common (cross-cutting) issues affect the qualityof life, environmental sustainability and equity in any ofthe scenarios or models of governance. A number of keyissues have been proposed for the IAASTD goals in multidisciplinaryexercises in Latin American and the Caribbean(Red Nuevo Paradigma, 2005). Some of the issues thatcould be included in the agenda of AKST in Latin Americanand the Caribbean are:• Quality of life issues: as previously mentioned, theconcept of human development is more than gross orper capita national income. It refers to the creation ofan environment in which people can fully realize theirpotential and enjoy productive and creative lives in accordancewith their needs and interests. Consequently,quality of life, in addition to satisfying basic organicneeds, consists in expanding the options that peoplehave to live in accordance with their values.• Environmental sustainability issues: (1) soil conservationand management; (2) sustainable use of biodiversity;(3) nexus indigenous crops—conservation; (4) germoplasm,prospection and conservation in-situ and ex-situ;(5) adding value to biodiversity and natural resources;(6) traditional knowledge of biodiversity; (7) conservationand management of pollinators; (8) ecology of biologicalcontrol; (9) organic fertilizers; (10) prospectionand sustainable management of plants (particularly nativeplants); (11) urban agriculture; (12) management offisheries resources; (13) impact of the agricultural sectoron fauna; (14) flora and native micro-organisms; (15)impact of the fragmentation of natural habitats (onhydro-biological cycles, soils, biological interactions);(16) impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)on the environment and human and animal health; (17)zoning, management and agroecological agriculture;(18) invasive species (existing and potential, exotic andnative); (19) management of forestry resources; and(20) quality control and use of water.• Equity issues: (1) legislation for protection of the rightsof all citizens without distinction on the basis of race,age, sex, origin, traditions, ideology, power, or social oreconomic status; (2) education without discriminationfor all under equal conditions; (3) a sufficient numberof educational centers by number of inhabitants and byarea of influence both in cities and in rural areas; (4)compulsory teaching of human rights, ethics, philosophyand ecology from a very early age; (5) study of theorigin of inequality; (6) study of the origin and consequencesof extreme wealth and extreme poverty; (7)decision-making power of communities; and (8) provisionof spaces for and promotion of democratic organizationsin rural and urban communities (discussion andsolution of problems that give rise to inequality).4.3.12 Evaluation of the impact of AKST systemsSociety does not have an accurate perception of the importanceand impact of AKST systems, which means thereis little support in areas where this weakness is most pronounced(Chapter 2). The experiences of impact assessmentvary widely in the region, especially since there are no ongoingprograms in this area (Alston et al., 2001; Avila et al.,2007). These studies, moreover, focus on assessment of theeconomic impact of the technologies generated (profitabilityof investments), without evaluating their other impacts.Given the multiplicity of the impacts of AKST products,impact assessments must be multi-dimensional, inother words should include analysis of the economic, social,environmental and other impacts (institutional training andpolicies). Moreover, analysis undertaken prior to the impactof the research proposals may help to improve the qualityand usefulness of projects and strengthen the impact of theproducts generated.It is also necessary to develop methods of socioeconomicanalysis in order to place AKST stakeholders and their newtechnologies in a socioeconomic context, which is essentialto improve their impact. AKST systems must recognize thatit is not sufficient to identify the impact of a particular technologyor type of knowledge, but that this technology mustbe placed in a socioeconomic context. Given the complexityof the relationship between knowledge/science and societyand that in order to enhance the impact of AKST, particularlyin terms of the IAASTD goals, the research agendamust include the full participation of producers, especiallythe poorest and most marginalized. Profiles of producersand socioeconomic studies of small-scale producers are alsoneeded in order to enhance the efficiency of these impacts.4.3.13 Participation of AKST systems in theformulation of public policiesStrengthening the impact and capacities of AKST requiresgreater participation of such systems in the formulation


AKST in Latin America and the Caribbean: Options for the Future | 183of public policies. Generally speaking, AKST stakeholdersinclude publicly funded national agricultural research institutes,but these have little effective participation in thepreparation of the legal framework in which they operate(laws on biosecurity and intellectual property, financing ofresearch and development, credit policies, etc.). Generallyspeaking, they are limited to sending or submitting reportswith the results of their research, which is often demanddriven(reactively or by express request).AKST stakeholders must adopt a more proactive attitudein this process. The experiences of EMBRAPA (Brazil)with its closer relationship to policy makers in the Ministriesof Agriculture, Science and Technology, the Environmentand Agricultural Development, in particular, as well as tothe Congress have been very successful and have helped tostrengthen the impact of that organization on the varioussegments of Brazilian society. EMBRAPA is participatingmore and more actively in the elaboration of laws governingintellectual property, innovation, and the protection offarmers, etc., as well as in rural credit policies, among othertypes of policies.Participation in the formulation of public policies is vigorouslypursued both by EMBRAPA and by FIOCRUZ, andthis approach in the case of these two research institutionsis indistinguishable from the process of creation and is afunction that has been embraced by them throughout theirexistence in order to strengthen their legitimacy and institutionalsustainability (Salles et al., 2000).However, the active participation in the formulationof public policies seen today in Brazil, in the case of EM-BRAPA, is not common in Latin America and the Caribbean.It is nevertheless clear that the strengthening of AKSTsystems in the region and enhancing their impact depend onthe proactive participation of the system’s stakeholders.ReferencesAdis, J., and M.O. Ribeiro 1989. 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